SPOILER ALERT! You really shouldn't be looking at this page if you haven't read the entire comic yet!
So, I wanted to have a page where I talk about some of the details that went into the making of the comic. Explain some of the references, talk about the run itself, stuff like that.
Q: So where did the idea for this comic came from?
A: In early 2011, a friend proposed an idea - myself, them, and another friend would each do a Nuzlocke run of Pokémon Quartz - a bit of an "infamous" rom hack. We also proposed collaborating on a comic about the runs.
However, said friend then vanished. I still really wanted to make a Nuzlocke Comic, and I was excited about the idea of making one for a rom hack. At around the same time, I had discovered this thing called "Touhou", so one thing led to another...
Q: Why are Renko Usami and Maribel Hearn called "Amber" and "Daisy" in your comic?
A: In most Touhoumon hacks, the playable characters are Maribel Hearn and Renko Usami. You're allowed to name them just like any Pokémon game. I named my main character "Amber" after an old OC of mine who wears a similar hat to Renko's. Amber's original design would influence Renko!Amber's in some aspects (freckles, nose shape).
As for why the rival is also Amber - despite Touhoumon Aqua+Yui giving you the ability to play as Renko... the game really wants you to pick Maribel, because Renko is your rival regardless of who you pick. When Professor Oak showed me my rival and I realized what I had done, I thought I could play that for laughs and have two Ambers running around. It ended up factoring heavily into the plot, of course, so I'm glad I didn't restart the game to pick Maribel.
Maribel's name is Daisy because Daisy is the NPC you can meet in your rival's house in Pokémon Red and Blue - she's the rival's sister, who gives you the Map. I figured I could make her into Maribel - and of course, I didn't make them sisters since RENMERRY REAL.
Q: What about Lyla, Derek, and the mysterious green-haired lady?
A: Lyla and Derek are also named after OCs! The original Lyla is actually supposed to be original Amber's daughter from the future. She's a big nerd who loves science (medicine in particular). Original Derek was an evil alternate universe version of original Amber's brother, Dylan (though of course this one is a good boy).
The mysterious lady, who replaces Wally in this run... was never given a name. I don't remember what my original plan for her was, but I think I just couldn't think of a name at the time and figured I could give her one later. But if we're keeping with the OC theme, she'd most likely be named Elize, after original Amber's aunt who also wears a wide-brimmed hat:
Q: Explain all the Puppet name references. Now.
A: Alright, alright. Here you go:
- Bitch (Reimu Hakurei): "Reimu is a bitch" was a bit of a meme back in the day. Reimu does canonically have little patience for Youkai bullshit, but she's not nearly as much of a stick in the mud as the Reimu in this comic. Plus her name ended up factoring in the story, with Amber's character development involving her not calling Reimu "Bitch" anymore after a certain point.
- Birdie (Mystia Lorelei): After Birdie from Street Fighter, who is a british punk dude. It works due to Mystia being a bird, and also being in a punk band with Kyouko.
- Twinkle (Star Sapphire): I think you can figure this one out on your own.
- Hatate (Hatate Himekaidou): Hey, this one doesn't have a nickname, what's up with that? Well, the reason for that is that Touhoumon Aqua+Yui gives the player a free Chibi Hatate in Pewter City, but you're not allowed to nickname her until you meet the Name Rater - and unfortunately she died way before I got to Lavender Town...
- Laughter (Medicine Melancholy): Another obvious one.
- Babs (Reisen Udongein Inaba): After Babs Bunny from Tiny Toon Adventures.
- Baka (Fairy): Honestly it was because I thought the man was selling me a Cirno lmao
- Bucket Girl (Kisume): FUCK IT. YOUKAI IN DA BUCKET.
- Autumn (Shizuha Aki): For being an Autumn goddess, of course.
- Spring (Minoriko Aki): Just to keep the seasons theme with her sister, even though she is ALSO an Autumn goddess don't worry about it
- Nyah (Chen): y'know like nyah
- Light (Momiji Inubashiri): idk man she's a White Wolf Tengu it seemed appropriate
- Holiday (Hina Kagiyama): Because Hina looks like a goddamn Christmas tree.
- Valentine (Satori Komeiji): Probably because she has lots of hearts in her design...
- Flora (Tokiko): After a friend's OC who loves reading.
- Nineball (Cirno): Cirno is associated with the symbol ➈, due to something in the manual of Phantasmagoria of Flower View, in which she is referred to simply as "idiot".
- Windy Thing (Aya Shameimaru): After a line in Homestuck: "Do the windy thing".
- Jackie (Hong Meiling): After Hong Kong martial artist and actor Jackie Chan (if it wasn't obvious).
- Blue (Keine Kamishirasawa): She wears blue what do you want from me
- Mona (Watasuki no Toyohime): Since in Touhoumon, Toyohime is known for using Sketch, I named her after a famous piece of art. You can probably guess which one.
- Ms. Wright (Lyrica Prismriver): After Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright.
- Jade (Sanae Kochiya): After Jade Harley from Homestuck, who speaks in green text.
- Marisa (PC-98 Marisa Kirisame): Yeah this one isn't very creative is it
- Marcia (Nitori Kawashiro): After a friend's OC who's an engineer.
- Babs Jr. (Rei'sen): After the original Babs, of course! bunmy
- Link (Parsee Mizuhashi): After the protagonist of The Legend of Zelda series - y'know, cause Parsee has blonde hair and pointy ears...
- Gregoria (Komachi Onozuka): After a friend's OC who wields a scythe - said friend also loves Komachi!
- Winter (Letty Whiterock): Following the seasons naming scheme established by Shizuha and Minoriko.
- Hitomi (Patchouli Knowledge): After a friend's OC who is shy and reserved.
- Kura (Rumia): After the Japanese word for "black", kuro.
- Violet (PC-98 Reimu Hakurei): After one of my own OCs, since y'know, she has purple hair.
- Boid (Tori): Just a funny spelling of "bird" - y'know, like if you have a New York accent.
- Amelia (Yuuka Kazami): After someone's OC who was some sorta plant gal.
- Neve (Mai - the PC-98 one): Not entirely sure but most likely after the Portuguese word for "snow", since she wears white.
- THE LAW!! (Eiki Shiki): After the famous catchphrase of Judge Dredd, "I AM THE LAW".
- Hartie (Koishi Komeiji): After her theme song, Hartmann's Youkai Girl.
- Merchant (Rinnosuke Morichika): After the merchant character in Resident Evil 4.
- Lyla (Eirin Yagokoro): After one of my own OCs, who is a student of medicine. She was also the inspiration for Season Two's Lyla (see above) - which in hindsight means things would get weird if I ended up having to use this one as Amber's starter...
- Diva (Kanako Yasaka): After the Italian word for "goddess".
- Myon (Youmu Konpaku): After a weird made up word Youmu said once, which is now a nickname for the character. Not very creative, I suppose...
- Max (Reisen Udongein Inaba): After one of the protagonists of the Sam & Max series.
- Gadget (Nazrin): After Gadget Hackwrench from Chip 'n' Dale: Rescue Rangers.
- Bridget (Medicine Melancholy): After Bridget from Guilty Gear.
- Tomas (Luna Child): No reference.
- Chirp (Tori): Y'know cause birds
- Merchant (Rinnosuke Morichika): This is supposed to be the same Merchant (even though he got reverted to level 5...) as the one in Season One so the reference is the same.
- Ida (Letty Whiterock): After one of my own OCs, who has ice powers.
- Anko (Suwako Moriya): After Kyouko Sakura from Puella Magi Madoka Magica (Anko is a fan nickname for her), though I don't remember what the connection between her and Suwako was supposed to be...
- Francis (Keine Kamishirasawa): No reference.
- Tinkerbro (Daiyousei): After Tinkerbell from Peter Pan, of course.
- Felicia (Chen): After Felicia from Darkstalkers.
- Recette (Kisume): After the main character of Recettear.
- Edgar (Koakuma): After Edgar Allan Poe.
- Spinny (Hina Kagiyama): get it cause she spin
- Cory (Rumia): After someone's OC who was goth.
- Clarissa (Yuyuko Saigyouji): After one of my OCs, who is a ghost.
- Charlotte (Tokiko): After Charlotte Aulin from Castlevania.
- Claud (Momiji Inubashiri): After a Touhou fan artist who was, at the time, known for drawing Momiji.
- Wendy (Rin Kaenbyou): She's got those red braids, y'know? Like, Wendy's? Yeah.
- Rubin (Louise): After a Touhou fan artist who really liked Louise.
Q: What's up with the male Puppets?
A: Older Touhoumon hacks like Aqua+Yui still gave the Puppets genders (for the purposes of breeding, Attract, etc.) - I debated whether to remove the male puppets for this version of the comic but since Jackie is a very prominent character that'd be a lot of work, I felt. In any case, it really doesn't change anything, plot-wise.
In Touhoumon Purple, the very early rom I started playing with still had the genders, but eventually the gender symbols got replaced by two halves of a yin-yang orb, like more recent Touhoumon hacks do. I had already included a bunch of male Puppets by that point, though!
And of course, Rinnosuke would be a male puppet regardless.
Q: While still on the topic of gender, what's the deal with Sariel's pronouns?
A: This isn't something I hear discussed in fandom as much anymore, but... Sariel is pretty androgynous in their original game. The game has zero dialogue, no character profiles, nothing. All you get is a sprite of a person with long hair and wings, and the name "Sariel". So a lot of people used to question, with this being an early Touhou game and SinGyoku having a male form, what Sariel's gender even was.
Originally, this comic used he/him pronouns for Sariel. I was going off the fact that Biblical archangels - like Raphael, Gabriel, and Michael, who share the same naming scheme as Sariel - are traditionally depicted as male. But that was before I really knew about nonbinary genders, so in this revised version, I've changed Sariel's pronouns to they/them. Biblical angels are not really supposed to have gender, anyway.
Q: Why are Amber and Steven Stone a couple, that seems random
A: There's a funny story behind that, actually. A few of the Nuzlocke Comics I read at the time that took place in Hoenn had a romance subplot between the protagonist and Steven Stone, so I figured I could put my own spin on that trope and make them exes instead. As far as I can remember, the story would've gone as follows:
- Amber, being a former League Champion, would have met the other Champions at gatherings. She'd have met Steven and also Wallace, and a bit of a love triangle would have formed, with both Hoenn champions pining for her affection. Eventually, she would start dating Steven;
- Steven would start focusing too much on his job at the Devon Corporation, becoming married to his work. This would be the catalyst for their breakup;
- They would NOT get back together. Amber's resentment for Steven would never really go away;
- Wallace would definitely hit on her if they met at the Touhou League, but Amber wants nothing to do with him either.
Q: So what about the Puppet romances? How come there isn't any Udomyon I thought you were the CEO of Udomyon
A: Well, that's because I wasn't actually into Udomyon when I started writing this comic! Plus I never had a Reisen and a Youmu on the team at the same time, so I couldn't put that pairing in even after I got into it... But yes, let's talk about the romances that ARE in the comic:
- Babs/Nyah/Jackie: Babs and Nyah being the two animal girls, I decided to play up the idea of them being a buddy cop type of team. Which turned sour once Nyah died. Meanwhile, Jackie, being the hot-blooded guy he is, had a bit of a weakness for girls, Babs in particular. Of course, she only had eyes for Nyah. Even as she died and was being held in Jackie's arms, she could only think of her old partner. Poor guy!
I can't remember if I intended for Babs's and Nyah's relationship to be romantic, but it sure felt that way after a while! So 2020 Lina says: yeah they were lesbians
- Nineball/Marcia: I never intended for these two to be a couple. Their relationship was strictly platonic, but I suppose I can't fault anyone for seeing it as romantic.
- Reimu/Marisa: The sexual tension between these two is palpable. Though their relationship is perhaps not a healthy one. They do end up murdering each other after all. But I'm sure they have all the time in the world to sort out their feelings in the afterlife now...
Q: What did the final team, after beating Sariel, look like?
A: I took screenshots!
Yes, I used the Master Ball on Youmu. She was gonna be the last Puppet I would ever catch, so why not, I figured.
Q: What about Lyla's and Amber's teams after you gave up on Season Two?
A: I somehow lost my save files for Season Two, so I can't look those up! T___T
Q: So why DID you give up on Season Two?
A: Several reasons, the biggest of them being that playing two Nuzlockes at once was very draining. I was also worried about a lot of characters in the comic having too small of a role, like the Puppets who would be boxed and never seen again. I was also frustrated by the comments I was receiving about the comic - they all seemed to be focused on whether people understood the references with the Puppet names or not... In the end, I just wasn't feeling it, which is unfortunate because I think the plot of Season Two was a lot more robust and well thought out than Season One - partially because Hoenn just has more plot than Kanto, and partially because I had gained a lot of experience making these by that point.
Q: Do you have any plans to pick up Season Two again, or start another Nuzlocke - perhaps of Touhou Puppet Dance Performance?
A: Both of those are things I've considered before, but I'm not entirely sure I should. I don't have as much free time as I used to. If I were to pick up Purple again, though... I'd have to start over, since (as seen above) I lost the save data for my original runs somehow. Perhaps I could do my best to recreate the state the game was at when I stopped (with only the comic as reference...)
But also, I have devised a way to make it so I don't need to play the game twice - Amber and Lyla would each have 3-Puppet teams, so I would only need to play through once. (I also would catch half as many puppets, which helps alleviate my worry about too many characters...) Once I reached the Touhou League, I would use a team with 6 of Amber's puppets, and then subsequently a team with 6 of Lyla's puppets - as well as hacking the game to give Wallace Amber's winning team (though with some adjustments in case anyone died).
A Nuzlocke of Touhoumon Ordinary Version (A gen 2 hack) would be interesting too...
Q: Why doesn't Lyla like nuclear power? It's one of the cleanest types of energy out there...
A: Is it still cleaner/safer than, say, solar power? Or hydroelectric? Wind? It's certainly cleaner than using fossil fuels, but Lyla was more concerned about all the toxic waste that gets produced. And of course, Lyla is a big nerd but she's not necessarily an expert on every field. She could just be wrong about it.
Please don't take Lyla's statement as a statement from myself about the nature of nuclear power. I personally don't know enough to make a judgment. And of course, Team Aqua hates nuclear power because they hate Team Magma.
Q: Did you send Reimu out against Marisa for the final battle with the rival on purpose? Were you trying to create drama?
A: It felt wrong not to have them fight each other for their final duel. So it was definitely motivated by wanting to write the comic a particular way, but I wasn't expecting Reimu to actually die. I knew it was a possibility, and I was sure I could write something interesting out of it, but I figured the chances of it were low. Turns out they were not...
I guess this is all I wanted to talk about! If I remember something else I'll add to this.