The title screen of Psycholonials, put for the sake of having at least one image in this post.
If you don’t know what Psycholonials is, it’s a visual novel released sequentially in February through April 2021 by Andrew Hussie, the creator of the legendary webcomic Problem Sleuth.
… what, are you telling me that there’s another webcomic Hussie wrote after Problem Sleuth that’s much more famous? OK, fine, I’ll drop the act. I’ve accepted long ago that I can never escape Homestuck and that it’ll always be with me, as the visual novel reminds readers near the start. This review will contain spoilers for Psycholonials, so read at your own risk!
Comparison to Homestuck
Where do I begin with Psycholonials? It’s the first work of fiction written entirely by Andrew Hussie since Homestuck ended in 2016, and it’s far shorter than Homestuck, which I find relieving. Not because I didn’t enjoy Psycholonials—quite the opposite! It’s more that Hussie intended for Homestuck to run for only a year at first, and it spiraled WAY out of control as he expanded Homestuck and started various side projects related to it, making the comic instead run for seven years. Hussie had long promised Homestuck to be merely a precursor to later works to come, and with Psycholonials, he’s fulfilling that promise at long last.
“W3 M4K3 OUR OWN LUCK 4ND YOU’R3 4BOUT TO PROV3 TH4T” —Terezi Pyrope, 2014
I would say not to expect the rest of my A6A6I4 posts to come out quickly, but not even I can predict my own work ethic. For me, motivation comes and goes like the wind.
I can tell that few things give Hussie more joy than joking about juggalos.
Time for the first of several Meenah/Vriska scenes in A6A6I4! Better known as “scenes where Hussie forgets about Meenah and Vriska’s significant age difference and then awkwardly backpedals in A6A6I5”. It’s a shame the author ended up forgetting something so significant, because this is quite a fun scene giving insight into both of these characters in a more casual setting than adventurous quests to take down Lord English.
VRISKA: Hey Meenah. VRISKA: Any idea where we are now? MEENAH: iunno VRISKA: Do you think… VRISKA: This could 8e the “Dark Carnival”?? MEENAH: nah MEENAH: that shit aint real MEENAH: its a made up religious belief pimped out by trash clowns VRISKA: Are you sure? MEENAH: shell yes MEENAH: be fake as shit MEENAH: of course the religious beliefs themselves are real MEENAH: makin it convenient for anyone who wanna exploit those delusions for her own badass objectives MEENAH: like pulling in clams hand over flipper and ruthlessly subjugating the general public MEENAH: i mean MEENAH: not that id ever bother with a dope scheme like that MEENAH: just saying
Meenah is contrasting herself against the Condesce when she says she wouldn’t ever bother with using clowns for public subjugation. Clown nonsense is so prevalent in Homestuck that I can’t blame Meenah for not wanting to get involved in it. Perhaps Meenah’s apathy towards clowns is because Kurloz, her group’s resident clown, is nothing more than a pious servant of indecipherable juggalo schemes that relate to Lord English tangentially at best.
I’m so close to the Gigapause now, I can almost smell it!
Sorry it took so long for this post to come out! I started it shortly after the last one, but I’ve been busy with finishing my classes the past few weeks. I now have one final exam and one project left for the semester, so I finished this post after doing one of my exams.
Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 2 of Homestuck opens with Crockertier Jane revealing herself to be the one who’s been building the alpha kids’ houses. This is a pretty cool usage of Act 6 Act 6’s motif of having our heroes hack their way through the final necessities of creating the new universe. It’s an odd choice for this intermission’s first scene given the nonstop action scenes that follow, but it makes sense to get this information out of the way before we dive into the meat (or at least, an extremely foolish attempt at generating meat).
Dave explores the rest of his living room and here’s where the creepiness factor escalates. It all starts with this moment:
> Dave: Take expensive ninja sword.
This page is a shockingly simple way to establish the day-to-day nature of Dave’s home life.
As I said in my first rewritten post, early Homestuck has a habit of revisiting the running gags of the prior adventures and giving them a new context. Every instance of the “what pumpkin?” gag in Homestuck has some broader reason behind it, sometimes involving technology. This instance of the gag is a character establishing moment for Dave’s bro.
When I got these pages in my old posts, I was nothing short of creeped out. Maybe it’s because two pages in a row show Bro flash stepping and moving stuff around, subverting all expectations in the process.
This post is now a week too late to be the anniversary special. I guess it’s still sort of the de facto anniversary special?
We now switch focus over to Roxy and the first interesting bit we get is her examining her collection of dead cats. The narration says about one of them:
The biggest one has been around for as long as you remember, encased in that glass-like material. You’ve considered giving it a name, but it always struck you as a little morbid to name a dead cat.
Yet another subversion of a longstanding motif in the comic; in this case, different people giving animals different names of different genders. In this case I guess it’s only fair that happens because the cat has already gotten two names. Besides, it’s yet another recurring thing that’s gotten a bit stale. That motif happens again later on with Serenity the firefly, but in that case it’s a somewhat more unexpected thing to happen.
Continuing the exile arc, WV recognizes the Bec-shaped base, and only then does he remember that he had previously met the boy he commanded a while back. How come he only recognizes John now? PM recognized both John and Jade when she saw them on her command screen.
John sees WV? in the dream he told Rose about and then wakes up and does stuff we already saw. WV returns to commanding John as he promised way back in Act 2.
The whole scene is one of those moments where exile commands are shown on scenes we’ve already seen; such things are often meant to show us that exiles were behind certain things we’ve already seen, which reminds me of how Vriska is behind some stuff that happened in the kids’ session. I don’t think John mentioned having the exile voice return in his conversation with Rose, which makes sense because John couldn’t “hear” the voice.
John doesn’t listen to WV’s commands so he presses caps lock despite the narration telling him not to, locking him in the command station. Here’s an exile thing I’d like to discuss. When exiles give commands, apparently they’re sent to both characters and their own narrative prompts. The mechanics behind this are kind of a meta thing and aren’t really explained that clearly.
Yes, this really is a scene in Homestuck. I promise you, not all of it is an LSD tri—oh wait you should know this, because this post series is made on the assumption that people reading it have read Homestuck.
In which I decide against the “in which blah blah blah” thing because that would be stealing an idea from the blog that inspired this post series, and stealing ideas is a bad habit I’ve had in my creative projects for as long as I can remember; and also because I went fine adding title pictures to my older posts without any text immediately following.
Continuing from where we left off, we see what Jack Noir is up to. He yanks the ninja sword out of the beat mesa record thing, and I wonder where exactly Dave’s bro went. I actually don’t remember. I think he escaped and somehow went to LOWAS offscreen but I’m not sure. I guess I’ll see and find out.
Then comes a famously bizarre and nightmarish flash in which Jade wakes up from her dream. I’ll comment on it with the screenshot method I’ve seen livebloggers use.