By: The Loser Hero (Pseudonym, well duh)
Genre and Setting: Fantasy
Art Style: Manga, Pencils, Greyscale
Is About: Esher, a mysterious girl who seems to be a prophesised doombringer, and Celia, who seems to be the futuristic reincarnation of Esher. Both are locked in struggles in worlds and lives that do not want them.
Frequency:Erratic. Sundays, sometimes multiple pages
First Impressions and Presentation:
Well, the website is... black. And I am greeted with a fairly pretty rendering of an angel and a girl as the comic. The tag-board on the right seems to be filled with positive comments, however, so this should be good.
Website design is spartan, but at the time of this writing the navigation menu does not work. *frustrated clicking at void links* As there are no comic links on the main page I forsee some problems for me in the near future. But we're getting ahead of ourselves here, so...
Two interwining stories told by alternating chapters. The idea of the reincarnation in webcomics is quite rare, and although I'm not a big fan of the 'prophesised doombringer' dohickey and the neglected rich child setting, having both of them as part of the same thing is certainly something new.
Variable. Coming on the heels of another similar manga comic, there's always the tendency to compare it to the previous one. In this case, the art of Twice Destined is sometimes good enough to go in a Clamp book, at others times, rather rough and the porportions drift off a bit.
There's a lot of fanservicy art in this comic. Nothing wrong with that, as long as it's equal treatment... but Twice Destined does seem to have a terrible amount of it ;) But one thing I found highly amusing was that in the various nude scenes in the comic, the unclothed characters for some reason seem to have no trace of genitalia whatsoever. And it's not that the characters in the world have different physiology or anything, as this page here illustates.
Don't think I'm demanding explicit pictures or anything, but I am a firm believer that if you're going to show nudity in your comic, at least have the decency to do it properly and believably. If you can't bring yourself to draw it, either don't or hide it... either with scenery or clothes. Do you know how traumatising it is to young readers who grow up thinking men have Ken-doll crotches only to find out they don't?!
And stop laughing. I'm serious here, you.
I should also make some mention of The Loser Hero's masterly use of camera angles, stunning establishing shots and beautiful backgrounds. There are too many 'fight' splash pages for my taste; I'm more of a 'get down to the story' kind of girl. (Fight scenes are great, but spending several full panel pages in succession is a bit too much for me.) No denying however, that most of the fight pages do look good, and the use of perspective in the comic is impressive.
All and all, the art is pretty good, although variable. There are times when it looks worthy of Tokyopop, and at others it feels like it's off and there's just something wrong with it that I can't quite put my finger on...
One hell of a convoluted story. Very interesting and complicated, obviously well-planned out in advance.
I have a gripe with the characters though. Some of the main characters, and the inconsistent Celia in particular, just don't seem to come off as believable to me. One moment sweet spoiled child, the next this gracious little lady who doesn't take much offense at being punched in the stomach by a guy who's supposed to be her rescuer, then a non-squeamish surgeon the next.
On the other hand, a few of the secondary characters are incredibly realistic. *SPOILER* Celia's mother, while showing a rather odd lack of apprehension at finding a naked boy in her bedroom (Most Mums, including mine, would throw a fit), does a very believable mother-sheilding-child-from-daddy act, while the enjoyably detestable Sister Agatha ranks as one of the most believably hatable 'villians' I've seen in a while.
FILLERS!!!! I think Twice Destined could give Megatokyo's 'Sad Girls in the Snow' a run for their money with their 'Sexy Exam Studying' filler strips.
Fanservice is fine, but when there's too much of it, it does ruin the enjoyment of a comic. The erratic schedule probably doesn't help the filler strips any either.
Twice Destined seem to be a pretty good comic, with a nice story concept and art but... I'm sorry to say it's not my cup of tea.
I do hate not being able to leave with a positive glowing review, but despite everything, the comic somehow does not appeal with me enough to be a regular reader. Still, like I said, it's not a bad comic, so it's probably more a question of personal taste.
So, the best way to judge is to read it yourself, really.
The Next Leg:
As I mentioned earlier, there are no comic links on the main page, and the links page does not seem to be linked. So looks like I'll have to do my first backtrack all the way back to Deity Permit's links page and choose another comic from there.
This poses a problem. Alex and Ilia I have done already, while I have snarkish feeling I shouldn't review Fallen Angels Used Books, because knowing the creator personally, I won't be able to do a fair job. Alex and Ilia was hard enough as it is. Jack is a thought, but I think I've seen a review of it on other review sites before. I'm already fan of Loxie and Zoot, so that leaves Nishichi 27, Saturnalia and Treading Ground.
The description for Treading Ground doesn't seem like what I'd like:
A hilarious strip about a guy, his rather sucky life, and his nerve-wrackingly illegal relationship with the 16-year-old "girl nextdoor..."
So looks like it's between Saturnalia and Nishichi 27. I'm not sure if Saturnalia has been reviewed somewhere else before, but I'm so tired at this stage I'm just going to leave this to chance.
I have a coin and I'm going to flip it. 'Heads' it's Saturnalia. 'Tails' it's Nishichi 27.
Heads. Saturnalia,here we come.