Ruby Nation

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sonichu Episode 12 Critical Review: The Union Of Perversion And Despair

Four Failures And A Wedding

Recently I was asked how I can justify criticizing online fans for making personal attacks on creators, yet do these Sonichu reviews. It's probably because I'm not really insulting Christian Weston Chandler, or denying him any professional or personal respect due. I'm not evaluating his comic critically so much as analyzing the Chris-Chan phenomenon, trying to draw some kind of meaning from the trip into one man's personal hell that is Sonichu. Nothing I could say or do would demean Chandler any more than he already demeans himself.

A good example of said self-demeaning is Sonichu Episode 12, titled "My Best Friend's Cherokian Wedding". In a rare move of internal consistency, Chandler has acknowledged the continued existence of Sarah Hammer, his childhood friend, unrequited infatuation, and super-furry comrade from earlier installments. Fortunately for the real-world Sarah, she's moved on with her life and has married a new man (having broken up with Wes Iseli, a.k.a. the evil Wes-Li Sonichu from the Wasabi Clan). Unfortunately for the real-world Sarah, the ceremony has been pulled into CWCVille, and interpreted through Chandler's arrested egotism.

At least Chris-Chan has stopped hitting on Sarah, but that's because he has a new sweetheart, one Megan Schroder. In real life, Megan was a girl he met at card game tournaments who was willing to be friends with him, but not go any further. Chandler repeatedly ignored her wishes, working her into his comic, getting inappropriately touch with her, and even putting erotic artwork of the two online (the latter being the final nail in the coffin, obviously). This comic was made when Chandler was infatuated with Megan, so he's deliberately worked Megan's interests into Sonichu in order to impress her-- not only does everyone now have anime-style eyes, but Chris-Chan uses Yu-Gi-Oh cards as weapons against his enemies, and has even cast bit characters (such as Sarah's husband-to-be) as Yu-Gi-Oh monsters. This doesn't particularly disrupt the flow of the narrative (such as it is), because everything in Sonichu is already filtered through the lens of Chris-Chan's childhood fandoms, despite dealing with his struggle against growing up. It's likely that Chandler simply didn't bother with drawing from a photo of Jack Spicer, instead tracing a Yu-Gi-Oh card within his immediate grasp.

I have never played Yu-Gi-Oh and have only seen a few episodes of the anime, so I can't speak to how badly he's mauled the source material. What is clear to everyone else, however, is that a fantasy card game does not offer one the tools to negotiate relationships and deal with developmental milestones. Here, Chandler has set up circumstances so there's a clear villain (Wes-Li Sonichu, crashing his ex's wedding to kidnap her), and a clear method to take him down. It also is supposed Chandler look good, for not doing what Wes-Li is doing despite being similarly obsessed with Sarah. Finally, the acknowledgement of Chandler's heroism gives him hope from the cast that he'll one day get a girlfriend-- Megan (as Sailor Megtune, with Sailor Moon-type powers and an anthropomorphic skunk sidekick named Megagi) rescues him from a defeat at the hands of Wes-Li, and Sarah gives him her blessing, throwing the bouqet of flowers to him in the hopes that he'll one day be getting married (and hoping that it'll be to Megan).

Megan, being a young woman with a reasonable grasp on reality, wasn't won over by being inserted into a newly anime-ized Sonichu comic as the protagonist's (eventual?) love interest. It just got worse from there.

I should also note that Wes-Li calls Chris-Chan an autistic freak, despite the fact that Chandler's avatar does not associate with autism in any way, shape, or form. This is true for Chandler's own understanding of autism as well; he hasn't bothered to actually negotiate or even understand what it means. All he admits is that it's a label that can be blamed for everything that doesn't go well in his life.


  1. Every time we think we've hit rock bottom, Chris-Chan throws us a shovel.

    If anything, the art in this issue is even worse than Chandler's usual, with Chris being there "in spirit" depicted with barely visible pencil scratches, the other parishioners don't even have any faces, and a Yu-Gi-Oh card is used in place of Sarah's husband.

    What I'm puzzled about here is whether Wes-Li was established as a villain when he first appeared, or if Chris has just arbitrarily made him one because he couldn't come up with a reason why Mary Lee Walsh would invade Sarah's wedding. Another one of the many, many problems with Chandler's writing is that there's no clear consistency on what his powers allow him to do-in one issue he's literally bowling the Jerkops over, and in other instances he needs to be rescued by Crystal or Sailor Megtune.

    Not to mention that Sonichu hasn't appeared in his own comic for *how* many issues now?

    Oh, and the difference between criticizing someone like Chandler and the likes of, say, Mark Millar or Brian Michael Bendis is due more to the fact that, whatever objections one might have to their writing, neither Bendis, Millar or most other creators have really done anything problematic in their personal or public lives.

    Grant Morrison made some snarky comments about how Frank Miller should go enlist and fight in Iraq or Afghanistan if he feels that strongly about it, but I doubt he would have said anything if Miller hadn't been shooting his mouth off about his political views as much as he did. Similarly, while I might not like the writing of either Bendis or Millar, they haven't really said or done anything publicly that would warrant criticism.

    Compare this to Chris's ridiculous sense of entitlement, his refusal to respect other peoples' boundaries, and the many assorted shenanigans that have gotten him banned from almost every public place he's gone to. He's done more than enough to warrant being criticized, both as an artist and as a human being.

  2. I think before Wes-Li was just the rival to Chris for Sarah, where he was portrayed as a dick but still able to team up with Chris against the larger evil of Mary Lee Walsh. Here any pretense that he had a conscience is dropped, though.

    And that's a good way of putting it about talking about creators; even if I've lost interest in his work, Mark Millar hasn't posted videos of himself "recycling" his semen.

  3. > What is clear to everyone else, however, is that a fantasy card game does not offer one the tools to negotiate relationships and deal with developmental milestones.


    Oh God. Why didn't anyone tell me?

    Also, sorry I haven't responded to anything here in a while, I'll try to get back up to date.

  4. Speaking of enlistment, a stint in the military might do Chris some good. Maybe it'll make him a better person.

    1. I doubt it. Military service has a tendency to breed ultraconservatism and in Christian's case that may well turn him into even more of a zealot.