Review: The Blacklight Takeover

Phew, finally, don’t have to worry about maintaining my own ridiculous canon anymore. It’s time to review the story I wrote in which I was a character filming and talking to other characters who know that they are characters in another story that I film and direct in this story but write in real life. Isn’t comedy so much fun?

It’s difficult to think of exactly what to talk about here, as the whole event was very self-aware, and pretty thoroughly covered its own reason for existing. Have to give a big thank you, of course, to Yuni Oha, not only for briefly hosting my shenanigans on his site, but for actually role-playing the crossover posts on both of our sites with me. Seriously, those posts were made completely spontaneously, practically no pre-planning at all, we just sat down and starting role-playing to see where it would take us. And, you know, he was also the person who encouraged me to run this event in the first place, I was very hesitant about how much work it would take. I also wrote a Fire Emblem themed post for him, so that was fun.

So why did I put this whole thing together? Well…I like Blacklight, in case that wasn’t obvious. I couldn’t have ever asked for a better foil to Shadow’s character (and I didn’t ask, I just made him, so I guess I’d be concerned if that wasn’t the case…), and he’s just fun to write for. I was very sad that I had to kill him off. Sure characters like Zero and Chaos were nice and all, they served their purpose, but I don’t love them the way I love Blacklight. But I often feel like my purpose in creating that character isn’t always fully understood. I’ve even received a review on The Chaos Project suggesting that the reviewer outright disapproved of his design. And I get it. He looks like a standard, low-effort, edgy Shadow recolor OC, ridiculous rainbow color palette and all…because technically, that’s exactly what he is. I wanted an excuse to explain why it was intentionally done that way…and I wanted to show why it works. Of course, only ten people ended up seeing that explanation, but…eh. It was some good fun either way. But anyways, I also just wanted an excuse to use Blacklight again.

The recurring joke about Blacklight’s contract had one element that I was intending to mention, but never really came up. Blacklight was supposed to mention that, as a contracted main character, he is required to appear onscreen at least once each season. He got the 50th episode special in Season 1, and the premiere in Season 2. I can’t keep these cameos of a dead character up forever, though. That’s why I consider this event to be something of a test run. Come Season 3, I’m thinking that I may want to make an entire spin-off story out of Villain Chat, thus fulfilling Blacklight’s nonexistant contract. We’ll see how it goes. There was also meant to be a joke about Blacklight’s phone that I’m thinking I’ll save for said hypothetical story…

Making commentary on the state of the Sonic franchise was fun as well, of course. I share my opinions all the time here on the website, but dissecting it all in a humorous way was a nice change of pace. One of the reasons I was motivated to make this event at all is because I wanted to make this sort of commentary on Sonic Boom at some point, but I feel like the Boom franchise will officially become completely irrelevant once the next Sonic game hits the spotlight, which will be happening very soon. I also made commentary on the Sonic fanbase itself, which I usually tend to avoid, but I think I expressed all my opinions in that area pretty clearly. If your character looks a lot like another Sonic character, that’s fine in my opinion, as long as your character has its own identity. Just draw it yourself. And unless you love your drawing—unless there’s nothing about it you would change—hold off on publishing it to the internet. Keep practicing until you honestly believe you can’t make it any better, and even then don’t stop practicing. That’s how I got up to the level of making respectable replicas of the official artstyle. Seriously, look at where I started…

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“Nova” vs. Shadow, circa 2010

…compared to how I progressed after one year…

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“Official” Nova art, June of 2011

…compared to how I progressed ten years later (admittedly with a 5-ish year break).

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Blacklight Takeover logo, circa last month (technically I made the Shadow art this was based on in August of 2019)

I did it, and you can do it too. If you’re into that kind of thing.

Usually, I like to distance myself from my characters in terms of viewpoint and opinion. But that was definitely not the case during this whole thing. Generally speaking, “Mr. C” always represented me, but then Blacklight was like the little fun-loving devil talking into my left ear, and Shadow was the logical angel on my right. Whenever Shadow made a curt skeptical remark, that was me saying, “I’m perfectly aware of how ridiculous this all is. I’m aware of every single one of my logical inconsistencies and jokes that aren’t likely to go over well.” But Blacklight was there to say, “I don’t care, I think it’s funny.” That goes for Shadow’s prediction of viewership turnout as well. I was perfectly aware that no one was actually going to show up for this thing. (Even though I did reach out to a few of my reviewers to request help, who never actually came. No hard feelings though, I made it work.) I was really hoping for at least one question, though. One question that wasn’t seeded by an alt account from Yuni, anyways. Regardless, even though I was constantly touting that Q&A session I was supposed to be leading up to, I didn’t do this just for that live interaction. I did it for history. And for marketing. I want everyone who comes to this website over the next year and beyond to see that this happened and think, “Wow, that looks like fun. Maybe I should come back to see if they do it again next year.” And even if that doesn’t happen, I hope I could make at least one person out there laugh (besides Yuni, but making him laugh was nice too). My angel and my devil both agree on that.

Oh, yeah, and I guess I wrote a song. That’s a thing…that happened…and it was kind of fun, even if I cringe every time I hear it. Even back when I was a kid ten years ago making “Nova the Hedgehog” (pictured above), I liked for all my fan characters to have theme songs, because that’s just how Sonic works. And “Madness Inside” is actually a direct reinterpretation of “My Name is Nova” (great song title, I know). I was actually only able to remember the first verse and chorus, but that was plenty. I suppose I might as well share the old lyrics, since I’m already sharing cringy stuff anyways. To the same tune…

It started fifty years ago…

And it put on quite a show!

I was created to destroy…

And they used me like a toy!

[Chorus]

My name is Nova, I’m the Ultimate Life Form and my time is now!

Yep, that’s it. That’s all I remembered. Possibly all I ever wrote. The old chorus became what is now the buildup to the chorus, and the new chorus was created from scratch. Note the differing backstories (fifty years instead of forty, and created for very different reasons), hence why I had to rewrite all of the lyrics. But I actually did manage to cram in an even bigger reference in the final product, as “Madness Inside” refers to “A super nova” where the old song said “My name is Nova.” So that was fun. Looking back, while the old lyrics are completely ridiculous, I actually do prefer the old rhyme scheme. The “oh” and “oi” sounds just have a better impact than the “art” and “i” sounds that I ended up using. I would’ve used it the old way if I could, but it just didn’t work. What else can I say about the new song specifically? I crammed in as many references to Shadow songs as I possibly could, to reflect Blacklight’s jealousy, and also the fact that he actually quoted most of those song titles over the course of his life. There was an “All Hail Shadow” that was missed because it was part of the rap portion that I cut out. Why did I write a rap? Because this song was meant to be a bunch of ridiculous fun, and I could totally imagine Blacklight springing at the chance to roast Shadow in a rap battle that Shadow doesn’t even participate in. Why did I cut the rap? Partly for time, partly for sanity, just like Mr. C said. As mediocre as my singing was, I can promise that my rapping is worse. When I sing “Live and Learn,” it sounds pretty okay. But you do not want to hear me trying to sing “Infinite.”I think the rap lyrics of Blacklight’s theme had a pretty good rhythm and flow going, I just don’t trust myself to sing them.  In other news, the very first words to come out of Blacklight’s mouth upon being born, “This feels weird” was intended to be referenced by the opening of the song, “This feeling deep inside my heart.” So…maybe I’ll put out the full version of the song some day. Maybe I’ll actually compose a midi backtrack for it so you don’t have to sit through the cringy acapella next time. I’m still not as skilled in that area as I would like, and it would be one heck of a time sink.

So will there be another Blacklight Takeover next year? I hope so. But we’ll have to see how everything goes.

-And until then…embrace the madness inside.

Q&A and Farewell

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[Audience]: *applause*

[Blacklight]: Thank you, everyone, thank you. This truly has been a life-changing experience. But unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. And so, without further ado, let’s hear it, Shadow! What’s the final tally?

[Shadow]: There’s only one question here.

[Blacklight]: W…w…one?

[Shadow]: Yes, as in, this is the only one.

[Blacklight]: No, no, that can’t be right! The website stats right here tell me that at least…uh…uh…twelve different people visited the site today!

[Shadow]: Huh. Twelve. That’s a lot more than the three I predicted.

[Blacklight]: Well why didn’t they ask us any questions!?

[Shadow]: Probably because most of them got here by accident…

[Blacklight]: Well…what’s the question, then?

[Shadow]: Let’s see here. Ninja100 asks…Shadow, how do you feel about your fan base? Do you like them, resent them, or what?

[Blacklight]: Are you kidding me!? Our only question is for Shadow!? Even the Team Rocket website gave me more attention!

[Shadow]: Well, I’ll just go ahead and answer, then. Personally, I don’t like to put people in boxes. Not the figurative kind, anyways.

[Blacklight]: Shadow…was that a joke?

[Shadow]: Don’t act so surprised. Anyways, just because a person calls themselves a “Shadow fan” doesn’t mean that they’re automatically cool or annoying. Of course, some people like me for the wrong reasons, as Blacklight has unfortunately already brought up. I have a special list for such people.

[Blacklight]: And since you so rudely failed to ask me, I’ll answer anyways. My fanbase is garbage, because they didn’t ask me any questions for the Q&A.

[Shadow]: Don’t you think that’s a bit presumptuous? I mean, maybe your fans just didn’t get here in time. This did all happen a bit suddenly.

[Blacklight]: Shadow, your optimistic attitude is starting to scare me.

[Shadow]: Well it doesn’t take much to do that.

[Eggman]: *clears throat*

[Blacklight]: Can I help you?

[Eggman]: We’re ready to answer our questions!

[Bowser]: Bwargh!
(Yeah, let’s hear ’em! I’m ready for anything!)

[Blacklight]: Sorry, guys. No questions. Show’s over.

[Eggman]: What!?

[Bowser]: Awwww…

[Shadow]: This is the moment everyone’s been waiting for. Surely you can do something while we’re all here.

[Blacklight]: Oh, right, I almost forgot about the backup plan! Everyone get ready, ’cause we’re about to start the real main event of the night!

[Bowser]: Bwargh!
(Well what is it!?)

[Blacklight]: It’s time for the big Blacklight Takeover Finale Special Guest Star Death Match!

[Eggman]: Death match?

[Blacklight]: Team Rocket couldn’t attend, but that still leaves us with a battle to the death between Shadow, Eggman, Bowser, and Movie Sonic!

[Bowser]: Bwargh!
(I’m ready! Bring it on, losers!)

[Eggman]: I’m not sure this is such a good idea…

[Shadow]: I don’t think we have the insurance to cover a death match.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) We don’t have insurance.

[Blacklight]: Everyone take your places! This will be a true contest of— Wait, where’s Movie Sonic?

[Teen Sonic]: That’s him, Tom! The guy who threw me out a window!

[Tom Wachowski]: Freeze, GHPD! I’m placing you under arrest for aggravated assault!

[Blacklight]: (walking towards Tom) Please, I’m sure this is some sort of big misunder— *shot with tranquilizer dart* (losing consciousness) I… …plead the… …fourth Chaos Emerald… *collapses on floor*

[Tom Wachowski]: (cuffing Blacklight) You have the right to remain silent.

[Teen Sonic]: Critical enough for you?

[Bowser]: Bwargh?
(What exactly is happening here?)

[Teen Sonic]: Now let’s blow this popsicle stand and go home, eh, Tom?

*Sonic and Tom exit, carrying Blacklight with them*

[Shadow]: I…think the show just ended.

[Bowser]: Bwargh.
(Welp, guess I’m going home then. What a waste of time.)
*exits*

[Eggman]: Will you be going home as well, Shadow?

[Shadow]: No…someone needs to go bail him out of jail.

[Eggman]: For someone who can’t even tolerate him, you sure are a good friend to him.

[Shadow]: One day, he’ll realize that his rash actions have consequences. But apparently, not today.

[Eggman]: You know, this whole “war-free zone” thing was actually pretty fun. We should do this again sometime. *pats Shadow on the back*

[Shadow]: If you don’t get out of here before the cameras cut, the death match might be back on.

[Eggman]: (sweating) Understood, leaving now. *exits*

[Shadow]: (to camera) And for all twelve of you who came to watch…thank you. The thought of making even one person laugh…I’m sure that made this all worth it for him. And for me. (looking up) Chaos Control!

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) I guess I’ll clean this all up myself, then…

Blacklight’s Totally Legitimate and Definitely Official Theme Song Finale

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[Blacklight]: My moment of triumph…and no one here to share it with…

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) I’ll share it with you.

[Blacklight]: You don’t count…

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) I’m sure Shadow’s watching from home, at least. What do you think he brought the laptop for?

[Blacklight]: Actually, he left his laptop on the chair over there.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) Oh… Well…would you like to tell the audience what this is about?

[Blacklight]: Sure… *clears throat* Because Shadow won’t let me steal any existing songs out there, I now have— wait…am I reading this cue card right?

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) Yep.

[Blacklight]: …I now have a theme song that was written and performed exclusively for me, which is about to make its world debut right here and right now. Inspired by the best of Magna-Fi and Crush 40, this song is called…”Madness Inside…”

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) Surprise.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) Wow. That was even more terrible than I imagined it. I guess that’s what happens when a guy with no musical talent tries to write and perform a song within 24 hours.

[Blacklight]: This…is…GREAT! A completely original song made for me and no one else! I thought you might’ve just dug up something for me, but you actually made this!

[Shadow]: Well, original is relative. There were definitely a few riffs taken straight from “Live and Learn” and “All Hail Shadow,” and the lyrics were pretty far on the cliché side.

[Blacklight]: Shadow! You came back!

[Shadow]: I came back to get my laptop. Why was it acapella?

[Blacklight]: Well, I have to assume it’s because a certain someone was too untalented to play an actual guitar, and too lazy to put together a halfway decent midi.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) So much for appreciation…

[Blacklight]: Hey, didn’t we talk about giving yourself a little credit? You embarrassed yourself in front of the entire world, just for me. That takes a lot of courage, you know?

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) Thanks…?

[Blacklight]: But did you not have the time to at least put the lyrics in the video? Your voice is so high and whispery that it’s impossible to understand you.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) I didn’t have time for a lot of things. There was supposed to be a guitar solo, and a brief rap, but constraints on my time and sanity alike prevented me from implementing them.

[Blacklight]: You wrote me a rap? I didn’t know you could rap.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) I can’t. Hence, the sanity part.

[Shadow]: I don’t need to hear this.

[Blacklight]: Shadow, wait! I’m sorry, okay? I’m really, really sorry. I took you for granted, but I need you! The Blacklight Takeover wouldn’t have been possible without you! You complete me!

[Shadow]: Going in the wrong direction here…

[Blacklight]: And if you stay for the Q&A, you can make fun of me as much as you want, I promise!

[Shadow]: Better.

[Blacklight]: Does that mean you’ll stay?

[Shadow]: … … …Alright. I’ll stay.

[Blacklight]: Yippee! Ooh, and you should sign us off, too!

[Shadow]: Oh, fine. Coming up next is our Q&A session, and that will be right on the hour. So make sure you get your questions in as soon as possible if you want them to be answered.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) Just don’t ask me about the song. I’d rather it be forgotten…

Villain Chat! with Movie Sonic

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[Audience]: *applause*

[Blacklight]: That’s right! Welcome back, everyone to the final installment of Villain Chat for the night!

[Audience]: *awww*

[Blacklight]: Yes, I know, we all wish the fun could last forever, but what fun is it really if it doesn’t go fast? And speaking of a need to proceed at high speed, our final guest of the night knows a thing or two about going fast. Shadow, why don’t you–…

[Blacklight]: Oh…right. Well then, without further delay, let me introduce you all to the most hideous monstrosity ever put out by the Sonic franchise, the nightmare that haunts our every waking moments, it’s, Movie Sonic!

[Audience]: *booing*

[Teen Sonic]: Uhh…meow?

[Blacklight]: Wait…who’re you supposed to be?

[Teen Sonic]: The…guy you just introduced? I’m Sonic. From the Sonic movie.

[Blacklight]: No no, that can’t be right. Movie Sonic has, you know, spindly hedgehog fingers, and human teeth. You’re downright handsome.

[Teen Sonic]: Uhh…thanks? I think you’re looking for the guy who had the role before me, he…ran into some hard times.

[Blacklight]: No kidding. Are you saying that he…didn’t end up being in the movie?

[Teen Sonic]: Are you saying that you didn’t watch the movie? Or…any of the dozens of trailers I was in?

[Blacklight]: Yes, I’ve literally been living under a rock. But that’s not important right now. I had all these interview questions prepared for the other guy, what am I supposed to do now?

[Teen Sonic]: You could…interview me instead?

[Blacklight]: Okay. How does it feel being the most hated thing to come out of the Sonic franchise in its thirty year history of having one of the most hateful fanbases on the planet?

[Teen Sonic]: I…see your point. But there’s gotta be some questions in there I can answer, I mean, I did play the same character in the same movie.

[Blacklight]: Well, let’s see here…ah, here we go! I auditioned for your part as well. Why do you think you got it when I didn’t?

[Teen Sonic]: Because…you…don’t look like Sonic?

[Backlight]: And the other guy did?

[Teen Sonic]: I mean…no, but…he tried?

[Blacklight]: You know, this is why I only deal with villains. Your optimism sickens me.

[Teen Sonic]: Uhh…sorry?

[Blacklight]: No! Don’t be sorry! Be critical! Bash me at every turn! (sobbing) I need a foil!

[Teen Sonic]: Oh yeah, wasn’t Shadow the Hedgehog supposed to be here? I was looking forward to meeting him…

[Blacklight]: Get out.

[Teen Sonic]: Huh?

[Blacklight]: I said get out before I throw you out the window!

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) No, not again—

Technical Difficulties

[Teen Sonic]: AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

*crash*

Setting Sail with Shipping

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Excerpt from:

Blacklight’s Totally Awesome Espio x Amy Drabble Fanfic

Espio stared into the great globes of Amy’s eyes, and in that moment, he knew that they were perfect for one another. He began to—

[Shadow]: What are you doing?

[Blacklight]: Writing a shipping fanfic.

[Shadow]: Why?

[Blacklight]: Because literally everyone does it.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) That’s a lie.

[Blacklight]: Oh, I’ll deal with you in a minute.

[Shadow]: Espio…and Amy? Those characters have barely ever interacted in the canon. What in the world would give you the idea that they’re in love?

[Blacklight]: Oh, my poor, innocent Shadow. When it comes to shipping, there are three rules that always hold true.
Rule #1: If two characters show animosity towards one another, that means they are hiding their true feelings for each other, and are actually in love.
Rule #2: If two characters are good friends and spend a lot of time together, that means that they’re actually in love.
Rule #3: If two characters have never met before, that’s because it’s obvious that they would fall in love the moment they meet.

[Shadow]: So…basically…every pair of fictional characters in history?

[Blacklight]: Now you’re getting it!

[Shadow]: That can’t be true…

[Blacklight]: Of course it is! I’ve seen you shipped with almost every character in the Sonic cast! Rouge, Amy, Cream… *raises eyebrows* …Sonic.

[Shadow]: Ugh…

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) That’s enough, you need to stop this. In this studio, we respect the intentions of the creators. That means no pushing of a romantic relationship between two characters in any extent greater than that which has been explicitly shown in canon material.

[Blacklight]: What about between three characters?

[Shadow]: Good Lords…

[Blacklight]: Oh, I’m just referring to the little love triangle you’ve clearly been setting up between Rouge, Knuckles, and Shadow, boss.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) You’re imagining things.

[Blacklight]: And what about pairing a canon character with an OC?

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) Slightly more debatable. Regardless, I don’t believe a character should ever be created for the sole purpose of of a romantic pairing with another character. That’s just bad writing practice in general.

[Blacklight]: So where does that leave the thing you’ve been setting up between the Rookie and Infinite?

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) For the love of… Look, it’s perfectly normal for people to show some degree of caring for one another without there being anything in romantic involved.

[Blacklight]: You are clearly forgetting about rule number 2. And number 1, in this instance.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) For the last time, I don’t have any shipping in The Chaos Project.

[Blacklight]: The weird tension you’ve clearly been setting up between myself and Shadow says otherwise.

[Shadow]: That’s it. I’m out. Done with this. *exits*

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) See what you’ve done? You’ve crossed a line.

[Blacklight]: Don’t worry, he’ll be back.

[Shadow]: (offscreen) And I’m not coming back!

[Blacklight]: Welp…maybe Shadow will come back to answer your questions if you leave them in the comments below!

The Trials and Tribulations of a Struggling Actor

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[Blacklight]: Shadow, I’d really appreciate it if you payed attention.

[Shadow]: (on laptop) Meh.

[Blacklight]: Shadow, I think there’s something you need to hear. *clears throat*
(singing) Here we are…all alone. Somethin’ weighs heavy in your tone—

[Shadow]: I just heard that song. I don’t need to hear it again.

[Blacklight]: So, are you just bored, or what?

[Shadow]: (on laptop) Yes.

[Blacklight]: I mean, you were at least pretending to have fun before. What’s the deal, bro?

[Shadow]: Bro? I thought James was your bro.

[Blacklight]: Dude, you know I mean that in a completely different way! You’re literally my brother! I would never replace you!

[Shadow]: Hmph.

[Blacklight]: You know, the jealous look really doesn’t suit you.

[Shadow]: I’m not “jealous.” I’ve just realized that I’m not serving any purpose here.

[Blacklight]: Not serving any purpose!? Shadow, I need you! Your down-to-earth cynicism is the perfect foil for my outrageous personality! We don’t have a show without that dynamic!

[Shadow]: Then why do you keep insisting that I lighten up?

[Blacklight]: Uhh…because it’s fun?

[Shadow]: …Whatever. *closes laptop* What’s the next segment?

[Blacklight]: I’m glad you asked! I’m sure many of you at home are wondering…”What exactly does a guy do with his time after he’s been killed off of his own reality show?”

[Shadow]: No, I don’t think anyone was wondering that.

[Blacklight]: Perfect, just like that! So anyways, I was wondering the same thing! Which is exactly why I took my talents to the road, and tried my hand at a few other acting jobs.

[Shadow]: Didn’t you say you weren’t an actor?

[Blacklight]: I wasn’t, but I still developed my acting talent by performing as myself. So anyways, here are a few clips of some other roles I tried out for!

Blacklight the Hedgehog, Auditioning for the Role of “Sonic the Hedgehog”

*Take 1*

[Blacklight]: I’m wet, I’m cold, there’s an apple on my head!

[Director]: Cut! It’s a fish, not an apple.

[Blacklight]: Don’t you think an apple would funnier? I’m sure the VFX team can edit that in.

*Take 2*

[Blacklight]: I’m wet, I’m cold, there’s a fish on my head! And clearly, I’m fast enough to wander aimlessly over every road in this country in a little over four hours, so I actually still don’t need you.

[Director]: Cut! This isn’t working. Besides, he’s even more terrifying than the old design…

—–—

Blacklight the Hedgehog, Auditioning for the Role of “The Joker”

*Take 1*

[Blacklight]: *dancing on the stairs*

[Director 1]: Hey, this guy’s pretty good.

[Director 2]: He even brought his own wig and facepaint.

[Blacklight]: Wig!? This is my natur— *trips and falls down the stairs*

—–—

Blacklight the Hedgehog, Auditioning for the Role of “The Mandalorian”

*Take 1*

[Blacklight]: *places down bounty puck* I can bring you in cold. Or I can bring you in hot. *winks*

[Mythrol]: *recoils backwards*

[Director]: Cut! That’s not— Wait, why aren’t you wearing the helmet!?

[Blacklight]: You think I could fit that thing on a head this big!?

[Blacklight]: I thought for sure I nailed that last one.

[Shadow]: What kind of auditions are these? That’s not how it actually works.

[Blacklight]: How would you know? You’ve never been to a real audition before.

[Shadow]: Apparently, neither have you.

[Blacklight]: Well, in the end, I decided that none of those roles were quite for me, so I went back to the set of The Chaos Project in the hopes of getting back on the show where I belong.

[Shadow]: And he hasn’t left since.

OC Workshop with Blacklight

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[Blacklight]: Good evening, everyone! Today, I’m going to teach you all a little bit about how to create your very own original Sonic character. Feel free to follow along at home. By the time we’re done here, you’re going to have a character that can compete with the best of them. Are we all ready?

[Audience]: *applause*

[Blacklight]: Well then, let’s get started. You might be thinking that you should start with a character’s backstory, or personality, but that would be incorrect! Species is king when it comes to Sonic OCs, which means that you need to choose your species first and foremost! Remember, your OC will be frowned upon if it’s of a species that doesn’t already exist in the Sonic world, so for today’s example, we’ll be going with a Hedgehog.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) Didn’t you just say that there are too many Hedgehog characters on the Internet?

[Blacklight]: I was talking about self-inserts, that’s a completely different thing! Anyways, if you’re looking to be really daring, you might instead go for Fox or Echidna.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) Wouldn’t an Echidna be canon-breaking?

[Blacklight]: (gritting teeth) I already said that backstory comes later! *clears throat* So, with that out of the way, we can then move to backstory and personality. These two factors are highly interrelated, so it’s important to consider both of them at once.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) I suppose that’s…halfway decent advice…

[Blacklight]: Viewers become disinterested in fan-created content very quickly, so it’s important shove your character as deeply into Sonic canon as possible. Your character might be a long lost sibling of a popular canon character, or perhaps an important inhabitant of an established dimension or timeline. It’s important to give this character a role that will provide for engaging interactions with the rest of the Sonic cast. Even better if they already know someone important!

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) Well…as much as I hate to admit it, that is true to a certain extent. There’s no reason you can’t make an “average joe” type of character, but if they don’t add anything to the Sonic cast, then there’s not much point in including them. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to be of vital importance to Sonic lore,or that they have to have a history with existing characters when you can just build them up from the present—

[Blacklight]: That’s enough from the peanut gallery! This my workshop, not yours. Now, as I was saying, I’m thinking that our example character is…the son of Silver the Hedgehog from an even more distant future. That should get the interest in this character going pretty quickly, and leaves an element of mystery for viewers to digest. Now, just as important as where your character is from is what your character has experienced. Tragedy is king.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) I thought species was king…

[Blacklight]: The more tragic your character’s backstory is, the more sympathetic your viewers will be towards him. A character who hasn’t experienced tragedy is simply unrelatable. And that’s where we get to personality. How has this character’s tragic past influenced how they behave today? The right tragedy can be a motivator for hatred, for heroism, or for insanity. I’m thinking that our example character…was forced to face off against his father in a battle for control over the post-apocalyptic future in which they live. You see, Silver had been driven mad by his inability to fix his timeline, and so, in the end, his son was forced to kill him.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) Wait…what? You’re just going to kill Silver? Just like that?

[Blacklight]: I don’t like Silver. Anyways, this scarring tragedy on our character’s life has haunted him ever since. He would wish to undo his mistake, but he doesn’t believe that it’s possible. So he walks the line between good and evil, hoping for a better world, but fighting solely for his own power. And that’s the end of his story!

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) The end? What about character development? What about growth?

[Blacklight]: Unnecessary details. Now, we get ot the icing on the cake. The powers.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) Not every Sonic character needs to have powers.

[Blacklight]: But all of the interesting ones do. Now, you don’t want your OC losing a bunch of fights, because that’s boring for the audience. For that reason, you need to make sure your character has the right powers to win in every situation. You might start with a basic set shared by another Sonic character, then just pile some more on top of it! Maybe even combine a few!

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) You know, this whole segment was almost salvageable before…

[Blacklight]: Since our character is the son of Silver, he should naturally start off sharing his ESP powers—more raw and untamed by his rage, of course. But I’m thinking that I also want to give him…healing powers. He can tear a person apart, then put them back together again. A nice little bit of duality there.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) Is there any particular reason he would have those powers…?

[Blacklight]: To make his backstory more tragic, of course. Although he tried, he just couldn’t control his powers well enough to save his father’s life.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) I meant…nevermind…

[Blacklight]: I’ve gone pretty subtle here, but don’t be afraid to go all out with your character’s powers! You can throw in as many as you can think of, and you can always add more if you need to later! Characters who fight by hurling entire galaxies at one another make for some of the most exciting fights in fiction history!

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) I…I don’t even…

[Blacklight]: Now that we have a character, it’s time for a name! Lots of people like to name their characters before anything else, and that leads to swarms of fan characters with boring human names that have no meaning. We can do better. The name of a Sonic character should be short and memorable—aim for two syllables if you can—and it should tell your viewers just a little bit about who that character is. Describing that character’s powers using their name is typically a pretty safe way to go. So let’s call our character…Lackblight the Hedgehog.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) Why would you name him after yourself when he has nothing to do with you?

[Blacklight]: Because it’s a clever pun! Now, finally, we’re at the part we’ve all been waiting for! We get to design our character! I highly recommend Microsoft Paint, or your operating system’s equivalent default painting program, for this exercise.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) You might try pencil and paper instead…

[Blacklight]: Start by searching online for official art of whatever Sonic character you want to use as a baseline for designing your own. Sonic himself has lots of different artworks in almost every pose you can imagine, so that might be a good place to start. Since Lackblight is Silver’s son, I’ll be going with Silver. Go ahead and copy-paste that baby into Paint.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) Please don’t recolor it… Please don’t recolor it…

[Blacklight]: Now, we’re going to start recoloring the artwork! I’ve found out that the paint bucket tool doesn’t work very well, so you’ll have to brush your new color in by hand. And don’t worry too much about drawing outside the lines. We can always draw those back in later, and the blemishes might even inspire some identifying features for the character. All Sonic characters have one primary fur color, so focus on that first. I’m thinking that Lackblight is…orange.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) Any particular reason for that color choice…?

[Blacklight]: Because it’s a creative color that not a lot of other Sonic characters have!

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) No, I meant… Ugghhhhhhh…

[Blacklight]: As I was saying, you need to make sure that your character is unique and interesting. No two Sonic characters tend to have quite the same spike patterns on their heads, so you might consider drawing in some extra ones, or else erasing what’s already there and drawing in some new ones from scratch. I, of course, will not be touching these, because of the familial connection. I will, however, be using the “rectangular marquee” tool to shorten Lackblight’s body and legs a bit, to make him look younger.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) Is that it? Are you done now?

[Blacklight]: Nope! Pro tip to all you viewers following along at home. Your character still sucks. Remember that thing I said earlier about people losing interest quickly? Well, that applies to visuals as well. You really want to catch people’s attention with your character design, which means adding lots of bright, contrasting, neon highlighting colors all over your character. Fit them in wherever you can! Gloves, shoes, clothing, streaks in the fur, go ahead and choose a different color for each one!

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) No, no, stop it! Just cut it out already! You can’t show this thing to the public! You’re embarrassing us both! What are you trying to accomplish here!?

[Blacklight]: … … …I… …I… …I was just trying to show everyone what you did when you wrote my character…

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) …You…wh… …no, you’re not, you’re not just some poorly thought out recolor, you’re—

[Blacklight]: Oh, I’m not a recolor, am I? Am I really!? Do I need to show them the artwork?

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) What artwork?

[Blacklight]: The one you cropped to put up there!? That so-called “fan art” you were so proud of!?

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) No, that really won’t be—

[Blacklight]: Well here it is!

Blacklight Wink

[Blacklight]: Not just a recolor, really? You literally recolored a Shadow you were already working on to make that image. You didn’t even redraw the gloves!

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) Give me a break, I had to put this event together on really short notice. And getting a convincing wink out of a freaky conjoined Sonic eye is a lot harder than it sounds. Besides, at least I made that Shadow from scratch on a vector image software. You should never publish official art that you’ve drawn over and expect it to be taken seriously!

[Blacklight]: Oh, and you expect me to believe that you’ve never drawn over an official Shadow to make art of me before?

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) That’s not the point! What I’m trying to tell you is that you were made with a purpose. You exist in a state of metacommentary. Yes, your physical appearance is identical to Shadow’s, but that’s as true in-universe as it is out here! You own the fact that you’re a recolor! It’s a part of your character! It draws attention right into your ridiculous personality, and it makes people laugh!

[Blacklight]: So…you’re saying that I’m just a joke?

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) I’m saying that you’re funny, because there are jokes built into the very essence of your character. That’s what you want, isn’t it? To make people laugh? That’s why you wanted to host this show in the first place!

[Blacklight]: Yeah, I…I guess I never thought of it that way… So what does that mean in terms of…smart practice in designing an OC?

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) Well, surprisingly, a lot of your advice was heading in the right direction, even if your reasoning was a bit misguided. A character needs to have a purpose. They need to add something to the world and to the cast that couldn’t easily exist without them. And everything about them, from their backstory to their design, should revolve around that purpose. Even I didn’t fully understand that when I started writing The Chaos Project. But somehow, I ended up making a pretty awesome character anyways.

[Blacklight]: Do you…really mean that?

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) I do. The seven bright contrasting colors probably weren’t my brightest idea, though…

[Shadow]: (on laptop) He’s lying. Just inflating your ego so you don’t take revenge on him for ruining your workshop once the cameras cut.

[Blacklight]: Save your opinion for someone who cares. You chose not to participate here.

Villain Chat! with Team Rocket

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Previously, on the Pokémon Cosmic Quest Official Website

[Blacklight]: I heard that you guys were going to talk about Sonic, and I just had to make sure that you got all your facts straight.

[James]: Trust me, I won’t be wrong.

[Blacklight]: Prove it, blue boy.

[James]: (Taunting) Okay then. Obscure Sonic trivia it is. If you want to hear something really ridiculous, Mr. Iizuka, the head of Sonic Team, claims that Sonic takes place in-

[Blacklight]: (Gritting teeth) I swear, if you try to convince me that there are two different worlds…

[James]: I never said I was going to try to convince you. It’s little more than a ridiculous fan theory from someone who happens to matter.

[Blacklight]: Wait…so…you’re not one of those people who blindly believes everything a developer says just because they can abuse their power?

[James]: Of course not! The idea that Sonic splits his time between a human world and an animal world in different games is just plain silly!

[Blacklight]: Hey guys, wanna be on the show over on my website?

[Meowth]: As… tempting… as that offer sounds, we’re way too busy here for that.

[Blacklight]: Too bad, I need one more interview session. James, you grab Meowth. I’ll grab Jessie.

[James]: (Hesitates) Um… How about you just give me a chance to convince them to come of their own free will?

[Blacklight]: Aww, that’s less fun… But I’m holding you to that!

And now, the continuation…


[Audience]: *applause*

[Blacklight]: And here we are again! Welcome back to Villain Chat! Shadow, do you think you can do it right this time?

[Shadow]: I have no idea who these people are.

[Audience]: *booing*

[Blacklight]: Well I guess I’ll do it myself. I hope everyone’s prepared for trouble. Please give a warm welcome to our latest guests, Pokémon’s famous Team Rocket Trio, Jessie, Meowth, and my bro, James!

[Audience]: *applause*

[Blacklight]: So how are we all doing tonight?

[Jessie, James, and Meowth]: Who, what, when, where, why!?

[Shadow]: So they’re from Pokémon? No wonder…

[Blacklight]: Oh, come on, everyone knows Pokémon!

[Shadow]: I don’t watch children’s anime.

[Blacklight]: Yes, of course, you only watch the “mature” anime. Like Sonic X.

[Shadow]: That doesn’t count.

[Jessie]: First off, Pokémon is so much more than a kid’s show. Second, where in the world are we!?

[Blacklight]: You guys said you would be on the show, didn’t you? You didn’t lie to me, did you, James?

[James]: (sweating profusely)  … … … …

[Shadow]: We’re being held in a talk show against our will. Just go with it.

[Meowth]: A talk show! I’ll have you know, I’m the talk show host around these parts!

[Blacklight]: Uh, no no. Shadow and I are the only hosts here.

[Eggman]: And me!

[Blacklight and Shadow]: Get out of here, Eggman!

[Meowth]: Do you even know who I am? I’m Meowth, host of the world-famous talk show, Meow we’re Talking!

[Audience]: *booing*

[Jessie]: Hey! Cut that boo-track out! No one boos Team Rocket!

[Blacklight]: You guys are on my show, now. I make the rules. I don’t play the sound clips, though. Talk to the guy behind the camera about that.

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) Sorry. I couldn’t resist.

[James]: Guys… I think we should listen to him…

[Meowth]: Why?

[Blacklight]: You see that broken window over there? That’s what happened the first time Eggman didn’t play by the rules.

[Eggman]: (through window) I highly recommend following orders.

[Jessie and Meowth]: *gulps*

[Blacklight]: So, let’s get this interview started. The show’s called Villain Chat, so we’ll be talking a little bit about evil today. For each of you: what is the most evil thing you have ever done?

[Jessie]: Oh, that’s an easy one. I once robbed a town of all its beauty supplies. They were ugly for weeks.

[Shadow]: Tch.

[Jessie]: Oh, and you’ve done better?

[Blacklight]: Oh, Shadow once tried to crash a Space Colony into the planet, wiping out all life and destroying everything. And he’s the good guy here.

[Meowth]: That’s nothing. I once split a cookie with Jessie and James.

[Blacklight]: …And?

[Meowth] (smiles devilishly) And I took the biggest piece.

[Jessie]: I knew it!

[James]: You truly are an evil, evil Pokémon!

[Blacklight]: And what about you, James? What devilish secrets are you hiding?

[James]: (contemplates) Well… there was that time I stole a bottle cap from the twerps. They were storing it in a trash can for safe keeping.

[Blacklight]: *gasps* You collect bottle caps too!?

[Shadow]: I thought you said you watched their show. Wouldn’t you know that already?

[James]: (leaps up) Yes! They truly are my passion in life!

[Blacklight]: And they’re so shiny!

[James]: What’s your rarest cap?

[Blacklight]: Well, I still have the cap off of the limited edition 2001 10th Anniversary Chao Cola.

[James]: No way! Mine is a 1996 Soda Pop Red and Green Edition.

[Jessie]: (under breath) Oh boy, another nerd…

[Shadow]: (under breath) You have no idea…

[Meowth]: Weren’t we supposed to be talking about evil?

[Blacklight]: Shut up, we’re having a moment.

[Shadow]: Maybe you should just ask the next question.

[Blacklight]: Fine, fine. Next question. If each of you were a Sonic character, what species would you be, and what powers would you have?

[James]: Oh, you want my self-insert OC? I would be Howl the Wolf. As the name implies, I strike terror into my opponents with my hyper howl. Not only am I handsome, I’m one of the world’s most feared and successful thieves.

[Meowth]: Are you sure that’s a self-insert?

[Blacklight]: Do you think you can do better, Meowth?

[Meowth]: Well, obviously I’d be a cat. Not a cat like Big, but like Blaze. I guess that means fire powers and all.

[Blacklight]: Fire? Didn’t see that one coming. Wouldn’t you rather have, like, luck powers or something?

[Meowth]: Sure, I’ll take that too!

[Blacklight]: And that leaves Jessie.

[Jessie]: Um… wouldn’t I just be Jessie the Hedgehog, or something?

[Meowth]: You certainly have the hair for it…

[James]: Come on Jessie, put more effort into it! Be creative! You can do anything you want! Not to mention, a hedgehog is the least creative animal you could pick.

[Blacklight]: Yeah, there are too many hedgehog characters on the internet already!

[Shadow]: …

[Jessie]: *shrugs*

[Blacklight]: Fine, be that way. What about you, Shadow?

[Shadow]: …

[Blacklight]: Tsk, tsk, tsk. Another hedgehog? I expected better of you, Shadow. I suppose that’s all for that, then. And I believe we have time for one more question. So. I hear you guys are making a game. I want in.

[Meowth]: That’s not a question…

[Blacklight]: Yep. It’s a demand.

[James]: Blacklight… buddy… the thing is… we’re not making a game…

[Blacklight]: What!? Of course you are! Did you not take control of Pokémon Sol Version when you took the website?

[James]: Oh yeah… forgot about that… Well… how do I put this…?

[Jessie]: We’re not in the business of making crossovers!

[Blacklight]: Who says it has to be a crossover? I can just be a normal, average, everyday character!

[Meowth]: You? Normal?

[Shadow]: Wouldn’t you rather be in a Sonic game? Where your important backstory can actually matter?

[Blacklight]: I’d love to. Unfortunately, SEGA isn’t hiring OC’s at the moment. Trust me, I checked.

[Shadow]: What about a fan game?

[Blacklight]: Wait…is that a thing?

[James]: Sure it is! Just like there’s Pokémon ones! They can be a little… unsavory at times… but I’m sure you could find one to your liking.

[Blacklight]: Boss…?

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) I’m not making you a fan game.

[Blacklight]: You suuuuuuure?

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) *sighs* Let’s just take this one year at a time, please.

[Blacklight]: So, is me being in Sol Version still on the table?

[James]: I’ll tell you what, we’ll name an NPC after you.

[Blacklight]: D’awww, you’d do that for me? You’re a great bro, you know that?

[James]: *extends fist*

[Blacklight]: *fist bumps gleefully* Wait, wait, now I need to do something for you. *reaches back* I want you to have this, bro.

[James]: No way! A Chao Cola bottle cap!? These aren’t even available in my world!

[Shadow]: (on laptop) Hey, did you mean to leave Wobbuffet alone with your Breath of the Wild account?

[Jessie]: What!? No! I don’t want that blue blob getting me more lost than I already am! Wait, how do you know?

[Shadow]: It’s streaming the game on your website. I didn’t know you could do that with a tree branch…

[Meowth]: We better get back and put a stop to this.

[Blacklight]: Well, our time’s just about up, anyways. See you later, bro!

[James]: Wait, how do we-

[Blacklight]: Chaos Control!

[Shadow]: (still on laptop)

[Blacklight]: Care to…sign us off, Shadow?

[Shadow]: Not really.

[Blacklight]: You enjoy taking my fun away, don’t you?

[Shadow]: Not really.

[Blacklight]: Ugh, fine. If you have questions for Team Rocket, or anyone else who’s appeared on the show today, leave them in the comments below!

Blacklight’s Totally Legitimate and Definitely Official Theme Song Part 2

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[Blacklight]: So, my last theme song didn’t go so well.

[Shadow]: Because it wasn’t your theme song.

[Blacklight]: But I wasn’t willing to give up so easily! So I made a quick call to my old pal, Johnny Gioeli, you may have heard of him.

[Shadow]: You have Crush 40’s phone number?

[Blacklight]: That’s right, the writer and performer of “Open Your Heart,” “Live and Learn,” “Green Light Ride,” all your Sonic favorites. And, wouldn’t you believe it, he already wrote me a theme song! And he never even told me! Such a jokester, that Johnny.

[Shadow]: Where could this possibly be going…?

[Blacklight]: It’s going right here! To my new official theme song, titled, “Call Me Crazy.”

[Blacklight]: Ha ha ha ha ha…go away. I love that ending. And if you ask me, the song’s a bit less dated than that other one. It really reflects how I’m a new character for a new age.

[Shadow]: Really? Now you’re trying to pass this off as your theme song? You have to kidding me…

[Blacklight]: Oh, and let me guess. This one is somehow yours as well?

[Shadow]: No, it isn’t mine. It’s an independent song. If anything, it’s about Mr. Gioeli himself. This album, “Driving Through Forever,” was published in conjunction with Team Sonic Racing last year. Long after you got killed off of the show. Under what context could this have been used for you?

[Blacklight]: Well, it’s not like it actually played in a game or anything. It was just a song that my buddy Johnny wrote in reaction to his realization of what an amazing character I am. Mr. C sure doesn’t have his phone number, so we had to meet under other circumstances first, which took a while. Then he needed time to write and publish the song.

[Shadow]: If it was supposed to be about you, wouldn’t it refer more specifically to you, or your history, or the theme of contrast that defines you?

[Blacklight]: I mean, the guy’s trying to sell albums here, he couldn’t exactly let the world know that he based a song off of an OC from some guy’s fanfic.

[Shadow]: Really? So, tell me, who exactly would you be talking to in this song that’s supposedly about you?

[Blacklight]: Well, you, of course. Who else would call me crazy so adamantly, whom I desire validation from and yet hate with a fiery passion? Also, you have been to outer space. Just saying.

[Shadow]: “There’s an ocean full of you that swims around me?” What exactly would that mean?

[Blacklight]: I don’t know, I didn’t write the song. But if I were to take a guess, I’d say that it refers to how the thought of you surrounds me completely, how everything I do and everything I see relates back to you in some way.

[Shadow]: Wow, you really need some professional help.

[Blacklight]: And this is news to you?

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) So when are you going to tell everyone that you don’t actually have Johnny Gioeli’s phone number?

[Shadow]: Yeah, this isn’t your theme song either. Let it go.

[Blacklight]: You don’t know everything…


Crush 40 is awesome. Please support them by buying their latest album.  https://www.amazon.com/Driving-Through-Forever-Ultimate-Collection/dp/B07VJXRGVK

And no, Johnny Gioeli is not a guest on the show. If you ask him any questions, they probably won’t be answered.

Blacklight Answers the Hard Questions

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[Blacklight]: Alright, this’ll be a rapid-fire one. Shadow, are you all ready with the questions?

[Shadow]: I don’t understand the point of this.

[Blacklight]: These are questions that Sonic fans have been asking for years! Who better to answer them than someone who actually lives in that universe?

[Shadow]: I don’t see this going very well…

[Blacklight]: Well that’s your opinion! Hit me with the first question!

[Shadow]: Question 1: “Why can we see the entire moon when half of it was destroyed in Sonic Adventure 2?”

[Blacklight]: There is no moon. The moon is a hoax. It’s just a set piece. Next!

[Shadow]: Question 2: “Where does Sonic keep all of his rings?”

[Blacklight]: You don’t want to know.

[Shadow]: Question 3: “What do Sonic’s hands look like under his gloves?”

[Blacklight]: You thought those were gloves? Those are just his hands.

[Shadow]: Question 4: “Which story path is canon in Shadow the Hedgehog?”

[Blacklight]: It’s the one that leads to the secret twelfth ending, where Shadow learns that he’s actually a figment of Sonic’s imagination.

[Shadow]: That’s false.

[Blacklight]: Prove it.

[Shadow]: No thanks. Question 5: “What happened to Eggman’s appearance in Sonic ’06?”

[Blacklight]: One word. Diet and exercise.

[Shadow]: Question 6: “Where is–…” Oh, dear… “Where is that FOURTH Chaos Emerald?”

[Blacklight]: We’re still searching for it to this day.

[Shadow]: …Question 7: “Is Sonic Rivals canon? Is Sonic Spinball canon? Is Tails’ Adventure canon?” It…goes on for a while.

[Blacklight]: Yes, yes, and yes! Everything is canon! Sonic All Stars Racing is canon, Sonic’s Schoolhouse is canon, Sonic’s appearance in Pac Man is canon! What don’t you people understand about this!?

[Shadow]: Didn’t you write these questions?

[Blacklight]: Shut up and ask the next one.

[Shadow]: Question 8: “How did Sonic get his powers?”

[Blacklight]: Too much coffee.

[Shadow]: Question 9: “What exactly is the Lost Hex?”

[Blacklight]: It’s a lost hex, duh.

[Shadow]: Question 10: “How can Blaze be from the Future and the Sol Dimension?”

[Blacklight]: Well, according to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, time and space are actually one conglomerated concept known as time-space. If we look to M-theory, a subset of string theory, more specifically, superstring theory, we know that there are in fact 11 dimensions of space-time. There is no distinguishing between the spatial and temporal dimensions. To our simple three-dimensional perspective, 11-dimensional space can take on a multitude of interpretations, including other dimensional worlds coexisting within the same confines of space and time we live in. Given the duality of space-time, this other spatial dimension, which one might call another world, can also be referred to as another temporal dimension, which one might call the future. The equivalence of space and time means that these two very different concepts are in fact one and the same. The future is another world, another world is the future.

[Shadow]: …

[Blacklight]: What’s that look for? I said I was going to answer the questions, didn’t I?

[Shadow]: Right…well, that’s all of them.

[Blacklight]: Over so soon? That’s alright, I suppose. But what hard questions would you have wanted me to answer? Tell us in the comments below! Make sure to get those questions in in time for the Q&A session at the end of the day!