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Act 6 Act 5, Part 5 of 6 (Act 6 Act 5 Act 2)
Pages 5713-5777 (MSPA: 7613-7677)
I’m sorry, everyone. I am so fucking sorry.
As of this post’s initial publication, this blog is still under construction, which means a lot of my prior posts are still formatted wrong and need to be fixed. Reformatting old blog posts is such a tall order that I often find myself getting distracted by making new blog posts. I suppose making new posts is a good way to get a feel for my new platform though.
Anyway, here’s my fabled (not even remotely fabled) trickster arc post! Part of me was always in this weird sort of denial that I’d ever get to this point, but there’s no turning back now. Are you ready?
Wait, I mean…
ARE YOU READY???????????
You better be ready. Trickster mode, here we come!!!
Act 6 Act 5 Act 2, as the act’s title suggests, opens with an incredibly silly callback to the simple but astounding flash that opens Act 5 Act 2. The music is a sped-up kazoo cover of the official, actual song titled “Homestuck”. For some reason, I’ve never until now stopped to think about how cool it must feel to be the one who composed the song titled Homestuck—this badge of honor interestingly doesn’t go to Toby Fox as one may guess, but Mark Hadley.
Some assets in the background of this scene are taken directly from Problem Sleuth.
In the magic trickster world she entered through some kind of portal, Jane bops some Horrorterrors on the head and turns them into Squiddles, which is something I never noticed until now. This scene serves as interesting symbolism of the in-universe story behind Squiddles: magic fluffy happiness covering up eldritch horror that you can easily see if you use your brain for a moment.
While Karkat fell in hate with John at the start of Act 5 Act 2, Caliborn here has fallen into pure cherubic arousal. As I said in my last Homestuck post, it’s only natural for a race of polar extremes to view trickster mode as a state of divine beauty.
Jane’s first order of business is stopping by Jake, leading to a scene I can never read the same way again after the epilogues.
Trickster Mode allows players to bypass the usual dialogue restrictions without going god tier and speak in “Tricksterlogs”.
Fucking hell. Just…
Let’s just say that I’m glad everything trickster-related in the epilogues happened entirely offscreen.
> Me: resist urge to think about what Jane did to Jake in the Candy Epilogue
I predictably fail to resist the urge. The epilogues really did put trickster mode to the most horrific use imaginable. To think a session of trickster sex was how sweet, innocent Tavros Crocker was born.
Interesting callback in Jake’s thought bubble right here—specifically, to the time Vriska mind-controlled Tavros to jump off a cliff before the events of the trolls’ arc began. This callback probably seems jocular to anyone who hasn’t read the epilogues. Now this callback brings to light how much Jake and Tavros have in common and how many horrible things people have done to both of them.
Here’s an infamous little bit I want to talk about. You may know that this page originally showed a selection of skin colors followed by “CAUCASIAN!“, which was changed after a massive outbreak among fans over what Hussie had said about the kids’ races (or lack thereof). This incident stands as one of only two times Hussie ever went back and censored a joke due to controversy, the other being a directly related case when John referred to Dave’s bro as a “white rapper” (which he changed first to “&^#%@ rapper” or something, then “white guy who is a rapper”).
Reading this page now, I think it’s easy to tell it was censorship of a racial joke, but it’s funny regardless and fits nicely with the callback-loaded spirit of the trickster arc. I love the way Jade’s quartet of smiling fruits was expanded to include grapes, a peach, and what I’m pretty sure is a cantaloupe.
Jake’s horrified reaction to “CAUCASIAN!” was kept unchanged, which I find hilarious. Out of all the things about trickster Jane that scare Jake, the one that freaks him out the most is simply her saying in huge letters she feels “PEACHY!”
Okay, this is actually hilarious. The load of absurd minigames and callbacks might be my favorite thing about the trickster arc. It makes no sense that Jane and Jake would call back to Kanaya and Gamzee respectively, but that’s what makes it so funny.
The clue pile doesn’t stop from getting taller!
More hilarity. I totally fucking forgot about all the ridiculous minigames (pseudogames, rather) in this act, and I’m starting to feel confused that so many people don’t at least find the trickster arc funny. My understanding is that the trickster arc was most exhausting for serial readers, who had to sit through two weeks of this.
And there Jake is, converted to trickster mode. At this point you may notice cherub motifs in the alpha kids’ trickster designs, like their spiral cheeks and Jake’s new shirt symbol. You may also notice that the alpha kids have corresponding sweet foods as tricksters (cupcake, pumpkin, ice cream, and soda), which makes sense because cherubs are all about rigid, mechanical patterns.
Amidst all the stuff Jane and Jake say that’s horrifying knowing the epilogues, I can’t help but notice that trickster mode has been reducing Jake’s personality to his very most basic traits that are “defined” to be true: loving adventure and using extremely outdated vocabulary. The same thing was done with Jane and her interest in detectives a few pages prior; I’m pretty sure Hussie’s self-insert discusses this exact topic with Caliborn after the trickster arc ends.
“fuck you, fuck my liife, fuck liiterally evverything, fuck fuck fuck.” —Erisolsprite, 2013
Remember sprite pendants? Those didn’t stop being a thing or anything. Maybe pendants are one of those game features the alpha kids never got around to unlocking until they became tricksters.
With Jane and Jake both tricksters, they set off to find Roxy so she can join the fun. Reading all the stuff Jane says as a trickster, I’m starting to believe Jane had already started an addiction to the trickster juju before the events of the epilogues, which may have helped turn her personality upside-down. Pretty interesting to think she’s the only character who developed an actual addiction to this drug (not counting the cherubs).
Jane and Jake’s conversation about marriage mostly makes me groan, but I find Jake’s line about being self-centered hilarious. It demonstrates how much trickster mode parodies the concept of character development.
Trickster mode seems to open up the possibility for anyone to be sexually attracted to anyone, which is great news for Caliborn because he loves watching girl-on-girl action. This is likely another reason cherubs love trickster mode so much.
Little does Roxy know about all the wild plans the Condesce has up her sleeve—plans so wild she can barely fit them into her tight jumpsuit. Unfortunately for Roxy, it’s not a priority for the witch to keep her in jail until Grimbark Jade comes around.
Also, as with Gamzee in the Doc Scratch intermission, Roxy’s text color is changed here for better readability.
Roxy tries to sneak by, but Jake summons a pumpkin and you know what happens next. Just like the other MSPA comics, it’s only natural that ultimate superpower mode allows one to override the perpetual disappearance of pumpkins.
Jake throws a pumpkin onto Roxy’s head and ruins her invisibility powers. I take it from the second image above that the pumpkin has some sort of electrical powers that negate the effects of rings or something???
I am choking here, oh my god. Why are these minigames so funny, I can’t get over it.
And there we have it: the fan favorite alpha kid has joined the trickster club. Maybe that’s why the trickster arc is despised so much. People don’t take well to their favorite characters being turned into this.
Dad Crocker watches the partying in stern fatherly disapproval. Seeing her father again is unfortunately the absolute last thing on trickster Jane’s mind—fake polygamous marriage with her trickster buddies is obviously more important.
Look at the Droll tagging along, adorable as ever.
Every single word of this passage stings to read. All of Roxy’s legitimately good character development right down the drain, reverted to utter waste world with her trickster friends. THIS is why everyone hates the trickster arc!
Before leaving to find Dirk, the three tricksters take a moment to dogpile the “hilarious” punching bag Erisolsprite, which again stings like hell.
This is it folks. I can say with 111.11% certainty that this is the most cursed panel in all of Homestuck. Pack it up, everyone. There’s no getting more cursed than this.
While Jane, Jake, and Roxy are having a blast falling off the wagon, Erisolsprite takes a moment to talk to Fefetasprite. His text color is edited to be less readable against the pink background, to help readers feel his utter suffering. Here are his first few lines on this page, but with the first one changed to his usual text color:
Hussie kind of cheated by changing this sprite’s text color, but this narrative conveyance of utter suffering just works so well. Here’s what Erisolsprite has to say about this against a more readable background:
ERISOLSPRITE: 2o uh…
ERISOLSPRITE: hey there unholy combiinatiion of nepeta and feferii.
ERISOLSPRITE: howwvve you been?
ERISOLSPRITE: wwoww that wwa2 a dumb que2tiion iim 2orry.
ERISOLSPRITE: thii2 ii2 pretty awwkwward ii2nt iit.
FEFETASPRITE: 3833 < 38\
ERISOLSPRITE: wwhat wwa2 that?
ERISOLSPRITE: FUCK ii cant hear a goddamn thiing wwiith the2e FLIIPPIIN IIDIIOT2 doiin theiir candy giiggle rampage.
ERISOLSPRITE: can barely evven hear my owwn wword2 ovver thii2 2hriill diin of hiideou2 piink.
ERISOLSPRITE: dont a2k me wwhy ii thiink iit 2ound2 piink iit JU2T DOE2 ok?
Being a dead troll is hard. It’s hard and nobody understands. As Vriska remarked in her first proper speaking scene in Act 6, dead trolls’ narrative purpose is to either be completely useless or rudely janked around for laughing stock, which she of course hates. It’s interesting that Erisolsprite seems to have a similar awareness, which plays a part in how much he despises his existence.
FEFETASPRITE: 38?? < 38?
ERISOLSPRITE: anywway ii gue22 iivve been wwantiing twwo 2ay.
ERISOLSPRITE: part of me ii2 2orry for kiilliing part of you.
ERISOLSPRITE: ii mean that not a2 the part a me that u2ed twwo be your mate2priit cau2e OBVVIIOU2LY that part wwa2nt re2pon2iible for that 2curriilou2 2hiit.
ERISOLSPRITE: but the part of me that u2ed twwo be moraiil2 wwiith part a you.
ERISOLSPRITE: and wwhereiin nepeta ii2 ju2t kiind of a wweiirdly unrelated by2tander iin thii2 wwhole me22?
ERISOLSPRITE: 2o ii gue22 the wwhole me ii2 2orry twwo nepeta for havviin twwo put up wwiith thii2 2hiitty lovve triiangle fallout.
ERISOLSPRITE: AUGH thii2 ii2 ab2olutely the 2HIITTIIE2T apology 2iituatiion ii can evven FUCKIING fathom.
ERISOLSPRITE: cant evven get 2ome legiitiimate feeliin2 of remor2e off my che2t cau2e the che2t ha2 contradiictory feeliin2 a twwo people and the reciipiient ii2 the amalgamatiion of the wwronged party and 2omebody wwho could not giivve a bloody 2hiittiing FUCK about any a thii2.
The dead trolls’ narrative irrelevance tragically gets in the way of Eridan’s honest attempt to reconcile with Feferi. It’s turned into a huge mess of conflicting feelings that ends up saying a bit about Nepeta’s character: she was something of a loner among the trolls who didn’t know any of them very well aside from Equius and Karkat. Knowing her love for shipping her friends, the Nepeta half of Fefetasprite is probably confused and overwhelmed by all these character amalgamations.
ERISOLSPRITE: can wwe at lea2t come twwo term2 on a 2ound poliicy of ‘fuck gamzee’?
ERISOLSPRITE: cau2e all iim 2ayiin ii2 ba2iically.
ERISOLSPRITE: fuck that guy.
FEFETASPRITE: 38)) < 38)
All four (well, three and a half) dead trolls in this scene do agree that Gamzee is a complete shitbag, which is pretty impressive. The poorly attempted reconciliation turned into a (well-deserved) four-way dunk on Gamzee.
Note that Arquiusprite is smiling in the background.
Now this is one clusterfuck of a scene right there.
The tricksters decide to round out their group by finding Dirk and here’s where things get REALLY freaky.
Roxy sexually harasses the hell out of Dirk and “confesses” her love and desire to marry him as if she hadn’t told him that every single day. Dirk is scared shitless, and rightfully so.
Note that Roxy’s shirt icon’s expression changes in this thought bubble.
Here’s another thought bubble callback to a troll scene: Vriska punching Hussie after he proposed to her. This callback reminds us of Hussie’s maniacal obsession with Vriska, which demonstrates that trickster mode obliterates any resemblance to how real people behave.
I put Dirk’s lines against a white background to make them easier to read.
This little bit of dialogue further demonstrates the brain alterations caused by trickster mode. Roxy doesn’t even have a good response to Dirk’s retort and simply tells him not to change the subject, which reminds us that trickster mode is ultimately a thin sugar coating, much like the Squiddles are to the Horrorterrors as shown at the start of this post.
Characters in trickster mode display such a huge obsession with kissing that they even make a big deal out of times their dead bodies were kissed, which is pretty freaky. The same was done earlier in the trickster arc when they brought up the time Roxy couldn’t kiss Jane’s corpse.
There we have it: Roxy has obliterated Dirk’s cool, all through being a freaky trickster. Tricksters have an uncanny ability to spot people’s weak spots, which is most horrifying in the case of Dirk, who just executed a panicked callback to something Dave sometimes said in the early acts.
Dirk’s frown, man. Dirk’s FUCKING frown.
Arquiusprite’s humorous approval of Dirk going trickster mode demonstrates that Lil’ Hal got the easy way out of his Striderian existential malaise. In this sense, Hal is undoubtedly the luckiest of Dirk’s numerous splinters.
I am very pleased with myself for using the phrase “existential malaise”.
Homestuck shows kisses that aren’t meant to be taken seriously (like this one) as extreme close-ups, which helps readers experience the kiss from Dirk’s perspective instead of Roxy’s.
Coming from Squarewave, “YEAH DOGG!!!” is quite an understatement. Roxy just fulfilled her entire character arc by finally kissing none other than Dirk Strider! Aren’t you proud of her? I know I am
—totally creeped the hell out.
I love how Roxy and Dirk use the exact same combination of letters for a passionate smooch and getting smothered by gross trickster lips respectively.
Arquiusprite follows the old “I need a towel” running gag, which is only natural because he must be very proud of Dirk for finally achieving his magic trickster form.
Soda is somehow an incredibly fitting choice for Dirk’s associated sweet food.
Also, this panel has exactly 11 characters—a number that has shown up an enormous amount in the trickster arc.
Also note that the three troll sprites on the left are all wearing some form of glasses.
… or should I say, his magically unchanged same Dirk as ever form.
This panel has a pretty huge tricksterlog to go with it, which I won’t quote in text unless I absolutely must because the formatting and color readability are all over the goddamn place.
Dirk becomes much more grouchy than ever before in the presence of his obnoxious trickster friends and lashes out at Arquiusprite for continuing to critique his personality even after becoming a sprite. Then he gives Jake a stone cold breakup speech calling him out for ignoring all of Dirk’s messages as if he’s some unapproachable emotionless machine. I’m not going to analyze Dirk’s breakup speech just yet because I think an analysis of the alpha kids’ relationship problems is better fit for the next post covering the split-screen section, which I am extremely excited to write.
After the breakup speech, Arquiusprite chats with his fellow troll amalgamation sprites and realizes that one of them is part Nepeta, which leads to his turn to poorly try and reconcile with his ex-moirail:
As we can see here, Arquiusprite’s reconciliation attempt is constantly interrupted by his robot half’s disgusted confusion as to why anyone would ever behave the way Equius does. It’s only made worse when Erisolsprite tries to get Fefetasprite’s attention back due to both of his halves’ attraction to Feferi. As Arquiusprite and Erisolsprite get into an argument, it becomes clear that both sprites feel a strong sense of entitlement to “their” half of Fefetasprite, which is douchey on both ends and leads to this:
I take Fefetasprite’s disappointing death as an indicator that Hussie wasn’t happy with the direction he ended up going with the alpha kids’ sprites, which itself indicates that he decided to take a full-out second shot at character combination sprites after the retcon.
Gamzee’s reaction to Fefetasprite’s explosion is a callback to Dave’s reaction to the time he impaled a bird. When Gamzee is feeling something other than his trademark smug serenity, you know things have gone off the rails.
The trickster arc is rounded off with… Christmas??? These pages were posted an entire month after Christmas, which together with the freaky rendition of Jingle Bells probably felt to serial readers like a huge “fuck you”.
You round up an assortment of ordinary household weaponry and begin to recreate a series of legendary weapons from the seven continents of a magical kingdom from cherubim folklore. The name of the kingdom is a well guarded secret, traded only by the cunning ninnywizards in hushed giggles. If you beheld this kingdom – if you even knew its name – you would understand stupidity no human ever has. For it is said that any mortal who listens to its melodious, perfectly absurd syllables will achieve instantaneous dumblightenment.
Each legendary weapon is named after the continent it was created in. But no one in the kingdom knows which name belongs to what continent, not even the wizards. The subjects frequently ask each other which continent they’re on, and as such every conversation tends to sound like an Abbott and Costello routine. Some have even speculated that the vaudevillian comedy duo are the kingdom’s mirthful messiahs, but that is a matter of heated debate among the federation of baloneyscholars.
This is just… the absolute STUPIDEST thing I have ever read. Nobody asked for this and I can’t even begin to imagine what sort of reader would get any trace of enjoyment from this meaningless babble. I know which character would though:
These occasional reminders that the trickster juju is connected to the cherubs paint the trickster arc as a sort of acid trip journey through the bizarre workings of cherubic minds. In a sense, the trickster arc is kind of like a body adventure episode of a TV show but in a more spiritual, psychological form.
What follows is the alpha kids alchemizing a series of expansions upon the familiar Warhammer of Zillyhoo: the Battlespork of Zillywut, the Flintlocks of Zillyhau, the Cutlass of Zillywair, the Blunderbuss of Zillywigh, the Unbreakable Katana, and the Thistles of Zillywich. All these weapons match with the beta kids and alpha kids, and the Unbreakable Katana being the odd one out is an obvious match with Dirk’s immunity to the trickster juju.
The tricksters’ reaction to the Unbreakable Katana is really funny, as is the fact that it’s the second last before a return to the usual Zilly formula.
This time, even Dirk is dancing with the other tricksters.
With the top-tier Zilly weapons done, the alpha kids alchemize Zillywave and Sawhoo, who disappointingly never appear again after this point. These absurd colorful versions of Squarewave and Sawtooth look pretty neat and I’d love to see Sawhoo uncloaked in his full battle form.
Against the narration’s warning, the alpha kids make an absurd amount of Zilly Santas out of Dirk’s fancy santa. I can’t even think of anything to say about this nonsense.
The trickster arc concludes with an absurdly long zoom in to trickster Santa’s nose, which is way funnier than it should be. Somehow a perfect note to end this bizarre intermission (technically an act act act) on.
God damn it. What the hell even WAS all that?!
I have two answers: (1) a journey into cherubs’ weird as hell brains and (2) a stream of suffering to precede ONE OF THE BEST PARTS OF ALL OF HOMESTUCK. The split screen section features some absolutely soul-striking conversations between the alpha kids followed by an incredibly badass sequence that isn’t even a flash, and I am P-S-Y-C-H-E-D to cover it!!!
See you in probably at least a week as I write what will quite possibly stand as one of the best posts in my entire Homestuck series. At the end of that post will be a recap of Act 6 Act 5, in which I will give a proper stance on the trickster arc beyond just utter confusion.
>> Part 98: The Part I Absolutely Love, as an Act 6 Apologist