Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rebuild of Elmer Studios, year two

Year two of the rebuild of Elmer Studios. Wow. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure if we were going to make it this far; in fact, I wasn’t even sure if we’d make it past the Rebuild of Delta. But yet, here we are, two years in (or seventeen, or ten since the shutdown) and I think it’s fair to say that we’ve achieved a lot.

This last year saw thirty MSTings, again a good number when compared to the typical run of the ‘Classic’ years. It gets better when you consider that the average episode length definitely climbed, while the number of rebuilds dropped considerably (Two in year two versus fifteen in year one, including a ‘technically not a rebuild’). In addition, two long-standing ‘started but never finished’ episodes were finally released, as well as a comic MSTing that was always on the ‘to do’ list

And, as if by a bonus, we had our first ever real story arc.

The Horrible Story Arc Of Space

The seeds for our biggest discovery were planted early; when we started researching DeltaInvasion for the rebuild, it became clear that the only way to get a ‘raw’ of it was through archive binging. However, it also bought to life that there was a much bigger volume of Tom Dyron out there then we’d ever expected. After discovering and collecting The Apocalyptic Battle, it became apparent that we had to do this fic and, in doing such, re-write the Dyron Canon as it was known.

In order to do this and give it real significance, we chose to go with a limited-run story arc to tie this momentous thing we’d found together. The best way to do that was through a guest villain, in the form of the decidedly malicious Voice 2.0 (a character who had been alluded to, incidentally, since the start of the Rebuild). It was also decided that they would overflow into attached B-Team episodes in the name of consistency. In the end, the “Voice 2.0” arc ran for fourteen episodes, of which a good chunk was B-Team material.

And yes, there’s still more Dyron out there. Don’t discount Voice 2.0 by any means.

B-List Canon Fodder

Speaking of, the last year was a good year for the B-Team. Zogster’s B-Team lived life large with the seemingly endless Girl On Fire, a fic which not only seemed to go on for all eternity (and still is) but also provided no end of material. With GoF running to four episodes so far (and still ongoing), it’s by far and away the longest lasted B-Team series ever and is now has the third most episodes of any Rebuild-era series (Behind Delta Invasion and the Apocalyptic Battle). Even the sum total of the Kevin Canon only equals it (Not including the Apocrypha, of course)

Rick R’s B-Team had less airtime, but achieved two significant milestones. The first was the riffing of Wings of Gibraltar, a comic that had been planned for the original Elmer Studios run (Specifically Mystery Ruins Theater 2135). The second was Showdown in San Rivera, which fulfilled a lifelong dream for Rick R; he found an Action Force fic.

Diversification of Interests

Year two saw a fond farewell to one of our personal favourites as we exhausted the supply of The Dark Spiner series; with no more Big Kev out there, it’s unlikely that there will be too much more (if any) Zoids fic to come. Otherwise, while the year mostly stuck with the old favourites of Robotech/Macross, Bubblegum Crisis and Evangelion, there were a few other notables in there. The fantastically loopy Brother Hunters gave an… interesting entry into GI Joe (but not Action Force) fic, while rebuilding a pair of old Tekkaman fics saw exploration of a five-second fad from well over a decade ago.

It was in the B-Team that there was more expansion, with material based on then-current animated series, eighties British war comics, internet RP and the like providing a decidedly different flavour to the norm. Likewise, the last fic of the year, My Way To TheChampionship made for something completely new; not only being based on a current anime title, but one that in and of itself was rather metafictional in nature.

Author’s Picks

All up, probably the favourite episodes of the year were the Girl On Fire series, Brother Hunters and Robotech Resurrection. The most painful was definitely The Apocalyptic Battle, specifically chapters nine through to twelve which pretty much amounted to the same thing looped endlessly. The most confusing was definitely The Legacy which seemed to not have a clue where it was going and seemed to constnatly contradict itself. The most annoying to write turned out to be Macross The Transformers Saga which was really too long for one episode but too short and lacking in material for two. The most unexpected find was Showdown in San Rivera, simply for the fact that Action Force fic existed.

The favourite character of the year came in the form of Saphire, the misspelled magical critter with the voice of R. Lee Emery. Second place went to the infamous Donkey from Showdown in San Rivera. The least favourite was, of course, Steven who is made of utter arse.

And then?

Episodes 263 and 264 are both in progress, with material connected and lined up through to 268 or so (depending on chapter sizes and the like). The Strategic Badfic Reserve is still less than we would like, but at the same time, is not as critical as it was a month ago. Weather we have another anniversary ‘special event’ is currently up in the air, dependant on what material we find and what ideas occur to us along the way. Certainly something at a significant number (280? 300?) is not out of the question.

And one day I might even explain the new numbering system.

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