Hey everyone! I decided to make a different kind of list today of something that I’ve seen a lot in the Nuzlocke community. There is an overflow of comics and so many authors wanting to stand out from the crowd, and this is a normal ocurrance when it comes to artistic mediums. It is natural to feel frustrated and not being able to be recognized within a fandom with so many people. Even I’ve had a lot of frustrations and a great desire to improve my storytelling.
I made this list to let people know of the stuff that its been way overused in nuzlocke comics. Some of these things are also a ‘kiss of death’ to the storyline. Now most of these things are NOT BAD, in fact they help making storytelling more dramatic. However, the point I’m trying to make is that they are 'overused’ meaning that its been done countless of times and its your job as the author to make a different spin to the cliche. I am guilty of some of these tropes, since this is based on my own experiences and the countless of comics I’ve read in this community.
If you want, you may add your own opinion on the subject. I am not perfect and I have no read every single comic out there. Also keep in mind that this is in regards of STORY TELLING not artwork. Being picky when it comes to art technique in Nuzlocke comics is pretty silly since the very first Nuzlocke series were doodles. Since this is something people do in their free time (and do not profit from it) its unfair of my part to criticize art style.Especially when my comic pages are flawed in that department as well.
So without further ado, let us begin!
- EDGY NOLAN-ESQUE DYSTOPIAN FUTURE/ 'DARK’ COMICS
Most of the comics in the Nuzlocke community are comedy, so its natural that some authors take this route to stand out from the crowd. They want to make depressing, gloomy stories where the world is an unhappy and vicious place so they can prove to the audience that this is SERIOUS BUSINESS. They usually add very long pages of existential dialogue and ramblings to make the illusion of character development. The comedy in these comics is non existant.
What is the problem with this: The subject of a Nuzlocke is depressing enough, there is no need to add gloom to the subject to cause emotional impact. Also, many times readers become attached to characters because of their likability, making both the atmosphere and characters gloomy will decrease the chance of emotional impact. The Pokemon universe is in all ways free of logic, and adding logic and deep symbolism and themes causes a high risk of plotholes. In a way it reminds me of the Nolan-verse Batman. He can add all the 'adult’ dialogue and psycho-analysis in the world but the result will always be a man in a bat suit fighting crime. The result of the pokemon universe will always be a place free from logic and fantastical science, no matter how 'deep’ you try to make it.
How to solve this: Add moments of warmth and comedy. Even if its corny at times, it will cause a great contrast when a character is killed off. Life is full of corny, happy moments even in the most depressing of settings. It shows how much fun you are having with your stories and characters, and the result will be much more natural.
When it comes to universe building, try not to explain every single aspect of the Pokemon universe. Focus on the characters, make them feel real and when you want to add details for the sake of the plot you may go for it. Adding too much exposition of how cruel the world is will tire the audience, it is best to make them invested with the characters first and the setting second. Making us like the characters will make us concerned with their plight and struggle.
There are always going to be plotholes. Your job is to distract the audience with likable characters from those plot holes. Elaborating how the universe works in lengthy detail (instead of relying on atmosphere) will make people more nitpicky.
- Happy go lucky goofy optimistic protagonist
(Note: This trope is more forgivable in comedy)
These main characters are just so gosh darn happy and wonderful. Their pokemon are their FRIENDS and they love them to death. They always tell off the bad guy and put them in their place, they succeed in everything and oh…They are almost always pretty.
What is the problem with this: SO MANY PEOPLE DO THISSSS, and frankly I’m sick of it. When I see this kind of protagonist I immediately lose interest. This kind of protagonist is so uninteresting and most importantly; they never grow as people. They are the same chirpy genki genki character since the beginning of the story. When their pokemon die they usually have a depressing moment for a second but then their pokemon are like;'No! Don’t worry about us! You can do it~’ and they get right back at their feet. Its overused, boring, and frustrating because they usually show no gamma of emotions. Its especially frustrating when they tell off the villain because its so obvious that they are going to do it and that they are right all the time. We KNOW the villain is bad, we KNOW whats morally wrong, no need to tell us kthnx.
How to solve this: Give them physical and psychological flaws. Not 'clumsiness’ please, just flaws that actually have real negative consequences. Have them make mistakes, have them learn and change as people. If you want to make an optimist, show us why they are an optimist. Also, avoid making them a moral compass unless they learned this moral themselves (through their mistakes). It will make more sense and make us admire your protagonist more.
There are two pokemon on the team who are romantically involved. They have the best relationship EVER. They love each other so much omg…OH NO ONE OF THEM DIED TRAGICALLY ;-; Can you hear the shippers cry? Nuuuuuu~
What is the problem with this: I’ve seen this done way too many times. The moment I see two hook up I think to myself 'hmmm who is going to die?’. Usually one of them saves the other from their own demise or dies protecting someone. Their death is always noble and is always magical.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen this done well (*cough* Jordan). This is just one of those really overused ones that need re-thinking. Most of the time this is done as a cheap shot to make shippers cry. It no longer has the same impact it once had since so many people are doing it.
How to solve this: Make their death COMPLETELY out of left field. There are many ways to do this. Firstly you can make the relationship have layers of complexity. Do not, for the love of Arceus, make them 'the perfect couple’ since people are going to tell right away that one of them is going to die. What I mean by 'the perfect couple’ I mean two attractive characters with no personality flaws whatsoever. Their relationship doesn’t evolve, has no layers and is overall there to make one of their deaths more 'meaningful’. Also, avoid the 'they died protecting someone’ thing unless you foreshadow it properly since the beginning.
Lastly, do not do this solely to make shippers go nuts. In order to write a believable love story it must flow naturally.
- Bad Comedy: Over use of memes, rape jokes, sexist jokes, racist jokes, homophobic jokes, fat jokes, stealing jokes from other shows/movies, Prof Oak/Elm/Birch/whatever is a pedo.
I was guilty of this in my previous run, and I learned the hard way.
Avoid these kind of jokes like the plague, many of them are cheap, repetitive, offensive and just not funny. Someone who reduces to this kind of humor is a person who can’t think of anything else thats funny. Its fine to use memes once in a while and toss movie actor cameos or quotes here and there but there is a limit. Isn’t it better to come up with your own material? There are so many things to poke fun at the Pokemon World that there is no need for 'shocking’ and 'random’ humor. Also, jokes can distract people from the story and characters. Not to mention that this stuff is super overused.
- This character killed my Pokemon, therefore they are an ASSHOLE
Lets say your pokemon was killed in-game by a character. Instead of making the character interesting or even dignified you make them THE MOST EVIL HUMAN BEING EVER. HATE THEM READERS, HATE THIS CHARACTER FOR KILLING LITTLE TIMMY. ITS THEIR FAUUUUULT!
Why this is a problem: You are letting your emotions plague your story. Remember how Stephenie Meyer said that she hated blondes? If you read Twilight, every blonde character is evil or bitchy. That is a case of letting petty emotions translate to your story. It becomes cheap, incredibly obvious, and some fans of the character will be annoyed. Also, most Nuzlocke deaths are accidental so unless the character who killed Little Timmy is a villain there is no reason to make them the biggest asshole ever.
How to fix this: Now I’m not saying to exclude this scenario completely. The only way it works (in my eyes) is if its properly paced. If its an accidential death, try to avoid this as much as possible. You can make the killer petty sure but its such a cliche making them a complete asshole. If it was an 'intentional’ death, add layers to the character. Explain why the character reduced to ending someones life. Make this character have good points too, it will make the death more shocking and unexpected. Whenever I see an 'evil’ character who hates the main lead for being so gosh darn wonderful, I can immediately tell that they are going to kill a pokemon.
Also, a lot of people do this when they really hate an in-game character. Instead of trying to improve said character, they make sure the reader hates their guts completely and they disregard their good points in the process. I think Gary, Whitney and Clair are the character who gets the worst treatment in Nuzlockes. Please avoid this if you want your story to be more fresh and unexpected.
And that’s all folks! Thank you for reading my list. I need to remidn you all that I’m not attacking anyone in particular. My stories have flaws and this list is basically the stuff I’ve learned while learning from my mistakes in the process.
Have a good evening!