When Suede asked me if I would be willing to take over the art duties for the Pokemon movie reviews, after I got over the “me?” factor I was stoked. (And profusely thanked Lupa for pointing Suede my way. Again, thank you.) Pretty sure this was the first thing I drew, in fact, to get myself in the Pokemon “feel”. I was kinda sad that J-Dub wasn’t going to be part of the “update” portion of the Pokemon 4ever review, and was anticipating his return so I could put him in a Team Rocket-ish costume on the screen.
I did catch J-Dub in a RDA chat one night and showed it to him. His squee made me smile.
The art change was kept a secret the whole time, save to the relevant parties. So this and much more has been sitting in my video-makin’ folder, waiting.
I need to redo this and ink and color it. I really, really do.
Haven’t said a lot myself on the loss of Justin “JewWario” Carmical over the last month because I don’t handle these things well. I tend to bottle up and shut down. It doesn’t process. I made it through the opening to the new video without tearing up, but it was still bittersweet and left an ache in the chest.
I’m not doing so great as I type this, but I need to. I need to let this out.
I was just getting to know the man one-on-one shortly before the end… we were talking Barcode Wars stuff, he was an absolute prince at MAGFest… in fact, he was the last person I hugged as I left his year’s show, and there were a lot of hugs going around. I went to the trivia nights and had a blast, the man had energy that filled the fucking ballroom.
And he was in my vague age-range! He was in there with Nash, Diamanda and Omega as big inspirations for Trent and I as we attempt to make our way in this goofball video world populated largely by people in their twenties (and younger), a sign that fuck age, it’s not too late for a second go at doing things you love.
Just as he was becoming, well, more than the hilarious guy on the computer box, someone I could just talk to about geeky things, someone who I eagerly anticipated the opportunity to do more work with to make people laugh… he was gone.
And nobody saw it coming. Which makes it all the more stunning and painful. Were it an accident or an unforeseen health issue, it would be no less tragic and heartbreaking, but… the mind doesn’t want to accept that a man so bright and positive would go in such a way.
He was the first TGWTG person I encountered at my first MAGFest too. Him and his kilt and pink sneakers. And I just smiled as I saw that and knew this was a chill guy. And he was. All the things you hear about him as people gush over him are true… he was just a funny, bright man who made you feel special.
And he also brought me back to a happier time in my life with his passion for importing “retro” games. The late 90s, I spent a LOT of time (and money) going to the shitball secondary flea market because it had the big import game stall (now long gone). I bought my Japanese Rockman stuff there, I grabbed the Ranma ½ fighters. I marveled at the weird shit. I got my PS1 modded to play imports. I had more money than sense and a secure (hah! *spit*) job making game graphics and I was having fun. I was scraping out a raw ability to read katakana at least. The shit that was awaiting me as the new millennium dawned hadn’t gotten here yet.
He reminded me of those days, and gave me that spark of hope at getting back to that kind of joy.
And though you’re gone, Justin… I’m not giving up on that. You are still an inspiration, and always will be.
It was 2010, and I had literally just gotten off a plane from Japan after having already traveled for two weeks, and already I was boarding another plane to Reno, Nevada to participate in the two-year anniversary movie for ThatGuyWithTheGlasses.com, “Kickassia”. When I arrived I was tired, hungry, and gross, with hardly any clean clothes. Everything I carried was two weeks worth of clothes I’d already worn, and I had no idea how the next week was going to pan out.
I found myself surrounded by people I’d met in the previous year’s anniversary video, and found new faces. One of those faces was that of JewWario. The notable thing about him was that you could never really tell how old he was. And when he revealed his age (at that time he was in his late 30s), everyone was blown away. His face, his character, and his demeanor suggested that he was a man at least ten years younger. But age clearly meant nothing when it came to us all being together. We all bonded so well.
When you’re all producers for the same site, you of course already share a bond. But I think Justin and I quickly bonded because of more closely-related interests. When he learned that I had literally just gotten off the plane back from Japan that very same day, we were immediately able to discuss both of our experiences in spending time there. We bonded over great food and interesting cultural experiences, and from that point on, every time we met it was like we’d never separated. That first meeting, he was just such a joy, and he re-energized me after I thought I was too tired to go on. He was also one of the first people to ever really strongly comfort me or give me advice when it came to me dealing with my mom as I was slowly losing her to breast cancer. I’m not sure any other producer has ever hugged me so deeply to this day.
Filming for To Boldly Flee was fond, also. I can remember walking around with Justin and Hope (JesuOtaku) trying to find food and further bonding over similar interests and experiences.
And I can remember us talking about making our costumes on Suburban Knights. I told him that I was thrilled that he was Jareth from The Labyrinth and that I was supposed to be fawning over him because I could recall legitimately fawning over the character originally in the movie. He kept me upbeat, we kept each other happy, and, heh, I can remember being outside in that stupid San (Princess Mononoke) skirt, freezing cold, and Justin kept me warm in his Jareth cape between shoots.
I remember fondly our trip to Guelph, Ontario to attend Con-G. Our plans were crazy in-depth, meeting up with Conal MacBeth (Doctor Holocaust) to film an exciting fight sequence together. I’ve seen most of the footage. Only a smaller trailer ever went up. But I’m pretty sure it’s always been Conal’s intent to finish it. I remember flying into Buffalo, NY and meeting with both Justin and Kyle Hebert. We were then shoved into a car to cross the US/Canada border in the dead of night, in the middle of winter. I remember stopping at a Wendy’s over the border, where we made fun of how Canadian the Wendy’s was because the apostrophe in the name was actually a maple leaf. Justin and I shared a room that weekend. I remember I enjoyed spending the time with him, but felt funny waking up to realize he was only sleeping in his underwear the whole time. It was so great watching his reaction when “Featherweight” handed him the personalized FamiKamen Rider Famicom-themed sword as a gift and just how excited he got, and how excited I got for him seeing something so cool beginning to come to life. That weekend we trekked through the snow across to the mall and marveled at things, bought delicious donut holes, etc. Riding in the car back over the border was an interesting trek, too. Convincing the US Border Patrol that we weren’t up to no good was an amazing experience.
Helping him work on FamiKamen Rider was quite the experience. Julien (SadPanda) had composed the backing track, and Justin had asked me to write the lyrics and sing them. So, with a little bit of help, those lyrics to that song that play in his FamiKamen Rider reviews, as well as the singing voice, was me. And I feel so thankful that he felt me to be valuable enough to want me to be involved. And when he was starting to get his stuff together to make the FamiKamen Rider mini-series, we were talking about how I would get out there to Colorado and be a character in the series. Admittedly, it seems like there were struggles in making that happen. And if it was frustrating to me, how much more frustrating must it have been to Justin? I know he felt bad about things falling through and not making good on promises and commitments. Perhaps this was part of a much bigger issue that I was never really aware of. But it’s too late for that now…
There’s all these crazy things, all these plans… I JUST hugged him a few weeks ago. I JUST helped him with his MAGFest Pub Quiz again for the second year in a row. He was JUST telling his audience that he was looking forward to fine-tuning it for next year. Josh and I were supposed to join him and Nash on a trip to Japan together. He’d JUST started that Patreon thing up. I thought things were happening. I thought things were going somewhere. And just like that, it’s over?
I want to be hurt, maybe a little angry. And after having gone to a GriefShare class this past year for the loss of my own mother, I’ve learned that those are actually normal emotions. Even feeling guilty about feeling that way is normal. But the truth is that feeling that way is only going to do so much. Because we can’t go back now, and we can’t change it. Hindsight is 20/20. If any of us had ever thought there was a problem, I’m sure we would have done things a whole heck of a lot differently.
My dream would be to be able to somehow figure out how to help him finish FamiKamen Rider. I think we’re talking about how feasible that would be. I can’t say anything more than that. But I know it was big and important to him. What I wouldn’t give to see that finished.
This is really all I have to say for the time being. It’s unbelievable that I just saw him, with no idea that I wouldn’t see him again. It’s beyond understanding.
Goodbye, Justin, my friend. I can’t claim to understand. But I’m so glad I had the time with you that I did.
You’re not stupid, okay?
You’re not stupid, don’t ever tell yourself that you are.
What you have in your head, may not mean a lot to a lot of people but it’s what makes you special.
You are important, you mean something,
and you’re going to go out there,
and you’re going to do some wonderful things.
But first and foremost, you’re not stupid, you’re not an idiot,
don’t ever tell yourself that you are,
and if nobody else ever tells you this,
I will tell you this, I care about you.
In the end I didn’t think words needed to be added to this. Just the simple rise to the sky and the love poured into these artworks.
He was a good man, a great creator and he was loved by all of us. Justin aka Jew Wario was one of the most talented in the community. His contributions will be missed and the inspiration he gave many will never be forgotten.
I truly believe art is one of the best ways to heal in a tragedy. I hope for all of you this was a catharsis. Fanart is used as the way a young artist connects to a fandom, work, celebrity and more. I hope this memorial collage connects us to you.
Hello! This is probably not the right place to do this, but since you brought up Justin’s soon-to-be-deleted Twitch streams, I wanted you to know I’ve been downloading them for the last few days and are currently uploading the 40 or so streams to a YouTube channel called “JewWario Archives”: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCg7oiiQJswkYc3mcLkCXQiw/videos
Finally, after all this time, this is the English adaptation of Be Ze Game, the intro to the FamiKamen Rider series of JewWario’s videos.
When Justin Carmical was first creating FamiKamen Rider, he said he wanted the reviews to look like an actual tokusatsu/Kamen Rider TV intro. He then asked me if I would be capable of writing lyrics for his theme song, as well as singing it. In Japanese. I was of course thrilled that he had asked me, and it was true that I have a small level of Japanese language certification, but the idea was still intimidating. He’d asked Julien (SadPanda) to compose the backing track, and once that was done he sent it my way.
When the instrumental came to me, I sat and listened to it… and I thought, “What the hell am I going to do!?” Honestly, I wasn’t sure if it sounded like something attached to most Kamen Rider intros, but I wasn’t about to give up. I just decided that the lyrics had to be very, very Kamen Rider, but while still being funny and light-hearted, much like the host of the show. So, certain lyrics like “Semaru Nega yo!” (Nega is approaching!) were specifically reminiscent of classic lyrics (“Semaru Shokkah” - Shocker is approaching - from the first Kamen Rider intro).
Furthermore, I realized I wouldn’t be able to write some of the lyrics without first knowing and understanding what the series was about. I didn’t necessarily want Justin to spoil it for me, but I asked him if he’d be alright with sharing the script for the first part of his two-part miniseries with me. And so I was able to write something that didn’t sound completely different from what was actually in the show. And with a little help from a native Japanese speaker, I was able to come up with lyrics that not only matched the setting and tone of the show, but were also grammatically correct (very important!).
The end result is what you now see in his Rider Reviews (example here with the Segata Sanshiro game review): http://youtu.be/MLJzvRsIqdM
But one thing I had always told Justin was that I was planning on making an English adaptation of the exact same song. Something that wasn’t just a literal translation (because you can clearly see that literal translation in the subtitles of the videos), but a REAL adaptation, that sounds good in English and rhymes (because for some reason English likes to rhyme when Japanese doesn’t really care all that much). He seemed really excited about it, though he honestly never asked me to do it. But it was something I always really WANTED to do.
Then, lots of stuff happened. 2012 to 2013 wasn’t very easy for me, and in fact, the hard drive that stored SadPanda’s instrumental for me was no longer easily accessible for me, so I went all this time without ever having recorded it. Needless to say, in this time of loss, I really, really, REALLY wanted to finish it right away. But I STILL couldn’t get connected to my old hard drive, and actually SadPanda himself no longer had the instrumental. Luckily for me, someone on Twitter (thank you very much Christian!) actually had all of the audio, and send the instrumental my way the other day. And today, I finished the English lyrics and re-recorded it. I only did a little bit of audio touch-up. I can only do so much. I’m not a professional, and I don’t have a studio or anything. But it’s not exactly a lot different from what the original song sounded like.
There’s still a large part of me that would love to see the FamiKamen Rider series get off the ground, even now. Not like I have any clue how that would ever get executed, especially without Justin. Some have suggested that it be a comic. Some have suggested that it be an animation. Maybe it’s too soon to even think about. Though I think that there’s enough people out there who would want to see it happen in some way, shape, or form, and I think there’s resources there to be pulled from. I still have some information on what was happening… I don’t know. Maybe it could be a thing, or maybe we should just let it be, and stay the fun little thing it was.
But for now, Justin, this is the gift I always intended on giving to you. I am kicking myself and am somewhat mad at myself that I never just freaking did it sooner. But it’s here. And I hope it brings the people who knew you and your work a little bit of joy. It’s still the same lyrics. Just in a different language. It’s still about the same old character, the same old you. I would never want to change it.
Missing you, my friend.
LYRICS: FamiKamen Rider When things seem as dark as they can be He saves the world with button-mashing
You see this guy right here?He plays games every dayYou’re telling me he’s a hero?There’s no way!Help! Nega is coming!Won’t someone do something?FamiKamen RiderThe last of the fighting WarionWhen he transforms using his belt, the game is on!FamiKamen RiderYou better take this man seriouslyHe’s got some game reviews he knows he’s got to doBe the Game!