MegaTokyo the comic
What is the history behind MegaTokyo?
Back in 2000, Rodney Caston, known online as Largo, convinced Fred Gallager, known online as Piro, to start a webcomic with him. They started off with two strips that they posted in May to Rodney’s website. When a link from Penny Arcade sent some viewers their way, they decided to continue on, and relaunched the site in August with a three per week update schedule. As time went by, characters were added and storylines developed.
In May of 2001, the existing strips were declared “Chapter 0” and the storylines started moving forward. Due to creative differences with Fred, Rodney’s input into the comic waned and the partnership was officially dissolved in June 2002.
MegaTokyo entered the print world with the release of the first book in January 2003 by Studio IronCat, it later changed publishers to Dark Horse Comics in August 2003 and then again to CMX (an imprint of DC Comics) in February 2006.
MegaTokyo merchandise moved from CaféPress to ThinkGeek in late 2002, then Fred and his wife Sarah opened MegaGear in July 2004 in order to sell their merchandise themselves. In the fall of 2008, MegaGear acquired a direct-to-garment printer that allowed Fred to begin on-demand tshirt printing with high quality color images.
Where did Fred go to art school?
He didn't. He's actually an architect and worked as one until October 2002. His ability to draw came from lots of observation and practice on his own.
Where is Largo/Rodney Caston?
Due to creative differences with Fred, Rodney’s input into the comic waned and the partnership was officially dissolved in June 2002.
What’s the update schedule?
Ideally two MegaTokyo strips are posted per week on a Tuesday/Friday schedule, though the creative process and the time to work it in edgewise with everything else in life can be fickle, causing the actual comic releases to be more erratic. We thank you for your patience while waiting for the new comics.
Where can I find a translation when Japanese is used in the comic?
Do a search in the Story Discussions section of the forum on the strip title, they usually have it covered.
How is the comic made?
The exact method has changed and evolved over the years as Fred experiments with new ways of producing the comic. Fred originally drew in pencil on bright white inkjet paper. The comic began in a four panel format, it switched to a full page format in April 2001. For this, Fred would draw one or two panels per sheet of 8 1/2 × 11 inch paper, then scan them in and assemble them in Adobe Illustrator. In October 2006 he changed to drawing the entire comic together on one 11 × 17 sheet of paper.
Later on he began working completely digitally with his Wacom Cintiq tablet. In March 2009 he began Fredarting, a streaming live video feed of the comic being drawn. More about how he make the comic currently can be found in the Fredarting FAQ.
What font is used in the comic?
The general text uses a font called “comic book” from a now defunct font company.
Why won’t Fred respond to my e-mail?
Fred receives a tremendous amount of e-mail from fans and can’t possibly respond to it all, but thank you for writing.
Will Fred draw something for me?
If you have a chance to see Fred at a convention or book signing, he will be happy to draw a small sketch for you.
What’s your policy on fan art and fan fiction?
Fan works are fine, we encourage our readers to be creative when MegaTokyo inspires them. We even have a forum section just for these sorts of things.
Can I use images from MT on my own site?
Certainly, as long as they are labeled as coming from MegaTokyo.
Is there ever going to be a MegaTokyo anime?
We won’t rule out the possibility but it’s not something that Fred plans to actively pursue.
Warmth is a story idea that Fred has been kicking around and occasionally working on since before MegaTokyo began.
What is a dating sim game?
The dating sim, also known as bishoujo game or ren’ai game, is a genre of video game in Japan typically involving a male main character and several girl character that the player can choose to romantically pursue. There are several subgenres with varying levels of interaction, ranging from games built around long passages of text interspersed with an occasional multiple choice question to games where level building is required to advance. They often, but not always, contain adult scenes. Many of them are adapted into anime series.
What’s l33t? Did MegaTokyo invent it?
L33t, from “elite”, is a method of writing by using numbers or combinations of typographical characters to replace letters, i.e. 4=A, 3=E, 7=T. It predates MegaTokyo, and is believed to have originated in the BBS culture of the 1980's.
Help! I don’t know what’s going on!
MegaTokyo is heavy on storyline, jumping into the middle isn’t the best way to read it. All the comics are available for reading on the web. Chapter synopses are available on our story page.
How much time has passed in the story?
Piro and Largo have been in Japan for about two months. Chapter 0 spanned fifty-two days and each chapter after that through Chapter 9 is one successive day. Chapter 10 picks up again nine days later.
What is Endgames?
Endgames is an MMORPG that exists in the MegaTokyo universe that Piro and Largo used to play. They were surprised to find that an adversary of theirs from the game lives in Tokyo.
What are those Omake Theatre things like Grand Theft Colo?
Omake means “extra.” Omake Theatre stories give Fred a chance to do different things with the MegaToyko characters.
Will Piro and Largo ever get home?
That would be telling.
When are we going to get backstory on the characters?
Back story is developed and shown in the comic when it is relevant to the current story arc.
Is strip 44 foreshadowing?
It predicted Piro meeting Yuki despite Piro claiming “That ain’t even close.” Though the details are a little off. We may yet be safe from that tragic ending.
Why are some characters’ lines in brackets?
That is to indicate when a character is speaking Japanese.
Where are things located in MegaTokyo?
Several locations have been mentioned in the comic. You can see the layout on this map of Tokyo, though that is an early draft from a while back and isn’t set in stone.
What color are the characters’ hair?
Piro is blonde, Largo has red hair, Ping’s hair started at its default grey but later on changed to pink, then blue, then dark. The Japanese characters tend to have darker hair, except Junpei who dyes his various colors. Colored versions of the characters can be seen in Dead Piro Day comics, the book covers, and the posters and pins sold by MegaGear.
How do you pronounce Piro?
Using Japanese phonetics: "pee-ro".
What happened to Piro’s original glasses?
Largo sat on them and broke them in Chapter 6. His vision isn’t that bad, so it took a while before he went to the trouble of getting them replaced.
Who is Piroko/Pirogoeth/etc?
Piro’s game characters. Piroko is for Quake and other shooter games, Pirogoeth is his Endgames character. Yes, he does prefer playing using female characters.
Where did the names Piro and Largo come from?
Piro is a pet cat in the dating sim game Kanon, it was named after a Russian meat-filled bun called a piroshki. Largo is a villian in the OAV series of Bubblegum Crisis. MegaTokyo is itself the name of the city in Bubblegum Crisis.
Are Largo’s experiences real?
They’re real to him. Other characters may be skeptical.
Where is Largo’s cool thing?
It’s around the apartment somewhere. We’ll see it again when Largo has need of it.
What does the cool thing do?
If we figure it out we’ll let you know. It’s representative of all gizmos and gadgets that people buy more because they are cool than because they actually need one.
Where did the idea for Ping come from?
Ping is an amalgamation of robot girls archetypes from anime and dating sim games. Some main inspirational sources are All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku, Multi from To Heart, and Mari from Boku no Mari. Fred didn’t see Chobits until after Ping was developed.
I can’t stand the suspense! What is the truth behind Miho?
She won’t let us tell you.
Is this Boo, like, THE Boo from Baldur’s Gate??
Yep, that’s him. Rodney was a big fan of Bioware’s games.
Which characters are based off of real people?
Piro, Largo, Seraphim, Dom, Ed, Asmodeus, and Tsubasa
Why was Tsubasa gone for so long?
The real life Tsubasa asked for his character to not be involved in the comic anymore.
When is my favorite character going to be in the strip again?
There are a lot of people that are important to MegaTokyo, no doubt they’ll all show up again eventually.
I posted in l33t to fit in with the hax0rz, why didn’t they like it?
It’s hard to read in large doses. It’s appreciated if you restrict usage of l33t to small amounts where it would be especially humorous.
Where can I post an introduction?
There are so many new members every day that it would be overwhelming if everyone introduced themselves. So please just jump into a conversation that interests you.
Where should I post general comments on each new strip?
The Story Discussions forum hosts a main thread for each strip.
I want to post in the forums, are there any rules I should know about?
Please familiarize yourself with the overall forums rules that are posted in MegaTokyo Central as well as the local rules for the other subforums. These can be found in the sticky threads at the top of the first page of thread listings.
Will MegaGear ever sell this type of merchandise that I want?
I don’t live in the United States or Canada, how do I get MT stuff?
Please see the help page on the MegaGear website.
When is the next book coming out?
First we have to build up enough comics on the website to fill the next book. After that it still takes some time to get everything ready for printing. When a book is upcoming, you’ll see mention of it in the rants.
Where can I buy the books?
MegaGear of course, and any online or brick and mortar book or comic store that carries manga.
Should I buy the books from MegaGear or a bookstore?
Whichever is most convenient for you. Fred is happy to sell it to you directly from MegaGear online or at a convention, but it is important that retailers see strong sales of MegaTokyo too.
Are the books available in anything other than English?
Yes. They are published in German, Polish, and Japanese.
Will I ever be able to buy a Cool Thing?
If we ever figure out what it is and if we can sell it, we’ll let you know.
I don’t see a design in the store that used to be there, where is it?
Product designs are subject to retirement, usually when interest in them drops. But if there’s something you’d like to see come back, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or the MegaGear sticky thread in the Story Discussions forum and we’ll keep it in mind.