I make art and comics!
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graceoartyo2 days ago
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Gonna specify that this is gonna be part one of many, cause ppl didn鈥檛 get that with my last comic and some of them were mad 馃槶
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graceoartyo2 days ago
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@sonofrose had a good post about pacing earlier that I've been trying to put into words for a while. It's about the kind of show Amphibia is and what it shows on an episode-to-episode story. I want to spin off of that a little bit and talk about what Amphibia feels like it's written as to me.
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Amphibia is a "portal fantasy" story. In Japan, the name for this genre is "isekai", or "other world." These stories are structured in a very specific way, usually only deviating on a few story beats from author to author. They're all about escapist wish fulfillment.
Ordinary children are the heroes [...] Selected as the CHOSEN ONE, the ordinary child travels to another wold, grows wise and strong, overcomes trials and challenges, succeeds, & returns home. This so-called hero's round is a circular journey, ending where it began. - Michael O. Tunnell, Children's Literature, Briefly
- The Hero(es) find a way to another world that's challenged by Evil.
- The other world gives them powers, maybe a cool sword, and sometimes has a prophecy that says only the Heroes can defeat the Evil.
- The Heroes have a few setbacks, and then excel in what they do and defeat the Evil. The world is saved!
- The Heroes come back home, to Earth, and then the story ends.
There's a million stories that fit this description, blow by blow. Peter Pan, Chronicles of Narnia, The Phantom Tollbooth, Wizard of Oz, Inuyasha, Digimon, Sword Art Online... from classical fiction to current media, the list is very, very long. Most plots stay the same. Relying on those story beats means the author can expand on the points between them, detailing a world, characters, and unique plot twists that the author wants to communicate as they go without spending too much time with a challenging concept. And the key thing is: the adventure ends when the Chosen One comes home.
Portal fantasy is the rawest form of escapist wish fulfillment fiction that exists. It's a great story concept, the idea that other worlds exist and that fantastic adventures can happen if you only open the right door. Earth isn't interesting. The problems and boring reality of Earth is the starting and ending point, giving the protagonists a simple contrast with the magical adventures they're on. Earth sucks! School sucks! Parents suck! Learn to swordfight, fight evil and save the world! Then go home, return to the mundane - but remember that magic truly exists. It's a really solid plot and one we know and love as a culture.
From the start, Amphibia seems to be a classic portal fantasy. We're shown that Anne, who's thrown into this fantastical other world, can do wild feats of strength, and we learn she has a close friend from Earth locked up by an antagonist somewhere else. The story's clear from there- the Hero has to gain power, experience the world, and then go and rescue her friends and set up the Evil to defeat.
And then Sasha joins the bad guys, duels Anne and falls off Toad Tower.
That moment, the end of season 1, is where all the expectations and logic that Amphibia is just another portal fantasy is shaken. There's setbacks in the Hero's Journey, but in these stories, the children work together- they find the meaning of friendship, they fight Evil, they prevail. They don't spend most of the stories separated from each other and off doing their own thing.
Season 2 spends a lot of time restoring the audience's assumption that things will come back to a portal fantasy's version of normal. We're given the quest, the hints at a greater force with the prophecy and temples, and a Chosen One, finally, in Anne herself. The girls are brought back together and are finally working together! They're learning what friendship means. At that point, it's reasonable to think that Sasha's the antagonist of the series, which is a clever challenge to the basic idea of portal fantasy. The logic carries through, still- even though Sasha's planning to betray them, surely her restored relationship with the girls will give us the good ending after she's defeated and remembers the True Meaning of Friendship.
And then Marcy's secret is revealed.
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When Marcy thought she might have found a portal to a fantasy world, she was assuming she'd get that story we're all extremely familiar with- the trio would stay together, learn the meaning of friendship, keep traveling on "to new worlds, so we could have amazing adventures just like this one, forever and ever! Where we'd never have to grow apart, where the three of us could be together, forever!"
Anne and Sasha react in horror. It's brutal. It's a complete betrayal of their friendship.
And it's literally the pitch of any other portal fantasy story.
The world of Amphibia wasn't an escapist wish fulfillment fantasy. It's a real world, with real problems. But Marcy's speech isn't a mistake, and it's not a character flailing blindly. It's the pitch you'd expect when you start watching the show blind. "A child finds a magical portal to another world, goes there with her friends, and adventures with them, growing closer together as friends." It's the pitch Marcy herself would be very familiar with as a kid who read a lot of escapist portal fiction.
And it shows us exactly what the writers of Amphibia are trying to communicate with the show.
The original vision of this show was a lot grittier, a lot darker. [...] I really thought it would be super short. Almost one season, or half a season, like, super short. It made sense then that the tone was darker, grittier, and the story was able to resolve itself much faster. The story kind of ends with Reunion, like Anne and her frog family like "we're going to find a way out of here, I swear it", and that was all I had in my head when I first started pitching. And then obviously it blossomed into this much bigger thing. - Matt Braly, Cartoon Universe interview 2021 (emphasis mine)
Amphibia has always existed as a challenge and critique of the genre of isakei/portal fantasy. Braly's original concept was a story where the hero doesn't get to go home. It didn't end in the way you'd expect of that kind of story to end.
In the version of the show that we have, it does the same thing, in an opposite way. Anne goes back to Earth, the place where these stories end. And the story continues. Because it's not meant to be a portal fantasy. It's meant to be a story about Anne.
It makes perfect sense that the fandom thinks a lot about a version of the story that fits the classic beats of portal fantasy. We're all super familiar with it. It's a good structure of a story. We want to see the Calamity Girls work together, find the true meaning of friendship, and beat the Evil hand-in-hand before going home with a happy ending. That's not wrong of us. I personally love to exist in that space. It's a really rewarding one, with a lot of fun things that could happen.
But it's not the story Amphibia's interested in telling.
Amphibia doesn't care about the story beats of portal fiction. It doesn't care about the Hero's Journey. What it cares about is what is honestly one of the best reimaginings of a portal fantasy story that I've ever seen. The point of Amphibia's story is not that Anne is destined to fight some greater evil, or that Anne, Marcy and Sasha are meant to be the Chosen Ones. The point of Amphibia isn't the fate of a world in the face of an Evil that must be defeated by Good. The point of Amphibia is that Anne has a family who cares about her, and that she has a place to call home. That's the entire point of the story. Everything she does in the story is motivated by that simple thing. She's not meant to fight. She doesn't want to fight. Fighting hurts her, hurts her family, hurts her friends. It's not noble or heroic. The circumstances she's forced into to protect her family makes her pick up a sword, again and again. All she wants to do is protect them.
Amphibia is not a story about Amphibia. Amphibia is a story about Anne and the people who love her.
We're just along for the ride.
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graceoartyo26 days ago
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Been watching my life as a teenage robot and man this show is good
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graceoartyoa month ago
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Check out my amazingly talented friends art!!
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Some costume requests from my Instagram story the other night!
Grim reaper design by @graceoartyo !! Check her out folks her art rules!
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graceoartyoa month ago
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Trick or treat! Thanks to my friend @alabasterpickles for the idea of Molly going as the grim reaper for halloween!
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graceoartyoa month ago
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I cleaned that top sketch up from last night (I meant to put a villain in there but we don鈥檛 really have one yet so imagine he鈥檚 yellin at Andrea)
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graceoartyoa month ago
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i鈥檝e been drawing a lot of molly mcgee!
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graceoartyoa month ago
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鈥渘ot in the way that people are expecting鈥???
non-binary molly??
I think you should know that the creators of TGAMM have confirmed both in the screen panel and their twitter that the LGBT+ representation isn't what people expecting it to be. Bob Roth has already confirmed in his twitter that Molly is unlikely to LGBT or not at least in the way that people are expecting. This representation is going to appear later in the season- same goes with the neurodivergent rep (a character that is going to appear later)
It'd be really funny if it turns out Scratch is the LGBT rep
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graceoartyo2 months ago
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can鈥檛 believe i forgot to add marceline
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hello, tumblr! here are a bunch of doodles i did from requests on instagram :)
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