Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 133: Tenuous Illusions of Free Will

Introduction

< Part 132 | Part 133 | Part 134 >

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5, Part 7 of 12

Pages 7672-7732

No, this isn’t a part where characters have an existential discussion on free will.
The title of this post simply refers to this fake character select screen.

It’s time to go through the second of A6A6I5’s character select screens in this post… except this time, it’s a fake character select screen, which the reader must go through in linear order.

Wow, 10 path options!!!

Wait a minute. You click and click, but nothing happens. This path selection screen seems to be broken. Looks like “free will” got greedy and overloaded the thing with “choice”, rendering the graphic up there completely useless, except you guess as a cool rollover thingy. For the first time EVER, in the over 9000 page history of this website, you begin to feel slightly deceived. Oh, how you would have loved to taste the fruit of free will one last time before this wild ride jerks our bodies to a deadly stop. Alas it is not to be. You must proceed through all of these options linearly, one by one. You click the link below, as usual.

Although this passage initially makes the fake select screen seem like a brutal prank, we’re instead going to be treated to a fun spin on character select screens: instead of going through options in whatever order you want, you go through them linearly, and after each option, you can hover over all the prior options to check on each group of characters. So this fake select screen isn’t completely fake: it’s more of a twist on select screens that focuses more on the rollover aspect.

Given the contents of the select screen shown above, it makes sense for it to be in linear order as I just described. Roxy/Calliope and Dave/Dirk both show up twice in the list, and there’s a lot of bias towards Roxy in there. Most of the conversations feature characters presently on the victory platform: the only ones that don’t are the two Dave/Dirk sections and Meenah/Vriska. Note that I will not be going through the entire fake select screen in this post: rather just the first eight options. I will go through the ninth (Dave/Dirk) in the next post, and the tenth (Roxy/Kanaya) up to the true final select screen in the post after that. After that is three more posts going through the rest of A6A6I5, the Collide post, and the Act 7 and credits post.

Now let’s begin the fake select screen with Dave and Dirk!

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I have only eight Homestuck posts left…

… and as such, here are some reflections.

I’ve said many times that once I finish my Homestuck blog post series—the same one that I started in 2015, paused for almost two years, and have worked on since then very on-and-off—finishes, I will never have to think about Homestuck again. Now, this is obviously an exaggeration, but I’m still starting to view the completion of my Homestuck post series as the end of an era for me. Why might that be, you may ask?

For one thing: Homestuck means a lot to me. I first read the comic in 2014, in the summer between my first and second years of high school; I was 15 years old then. I gradually got more invested and obsessed with Homestuck in the following years, participating in online discussions and fan projects aplenty. I had a steady stream of Homestuck interest going until late 2017 (months after my Homestuck posts initially fizzled out), and then it went on and off from there, with me moving to different interests—SiIvaGunner, SRB2, and MLP:FiM to name a few—but often coming back to Homestuck regardless, and finishing my Homestuck post series bit by bit. I resumed my Homestuck posts on a day in December 2018 where I was so bored that I wanted to resurrect that old project, and later Homestuck media since then (most of all the epilogues and new book commentary) has continued to fuel my motivation to continue those posts. Now, the fuel of new Homestuck media has fizzled out, but I think I have just enough remaining Homestuck energy to finish those posts!

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 132: Leadership Doubt and Feline Boisterousness

Introduction

< Part 131 | Part 132 | Part 133 >

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5, Part 6 of 12

Pages 7635-7671

Rose represents my reaction to all Homestuck fandom drama from this year.

Holy shit. Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit. I have less than 500 pages left of Homestuck to go through. 500 pages may sound like a lot, but it’s quite a small portion compared to Homestuck’s full page count, which slightly exceeds 8000.

Anyway, we left off at Calliope getting revived by an increasingly saccharine Roxy. Now, a lengthy scrolling panel with denizen sound effects showing Echidna in person (but not her face) takes us to Kanaya and Karkat, having finished their meeting with Echidna. It’s quite a fun and detailed panel giving a good sense of scale for Echidna’s monstrous size, drawn by an external artist.

For Kanaya, the denizen meeting was brief and successful, but Karkat is still befuddled at the purpose of his presence. Kanaya says she and Echidna talked about Karkat but is reluctant to explain what they talked about, which is some withholding that Karkat isn’t too happy about. With Karkat lost on what he stands for or what his purpose is, the two discuss their aspects, and we start to learn new things about them—some directly, some indirectly. This conversation in general features us learning a lot of new things about the Alternian trolls’ session.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 131: Meeting of the Contrasting Muses

Introduction

< Part 130 | Part 131 | Part 132 >

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5, Part 5 of 12

Pages 7561-7634

I feel like I should mention that a friend of mine who doesn’t know anything about Homestuck recently joked about me doing blog posts analyzing Danganronpa, which I don’t know anything about.

(I really hope I didn’t jinx myself there.)

Finishing the transition from last post, Skaian clouds take us to Jade, Jane, and Calliope on the yellow spiral cherubic stage thing. The zoom-in is much less grandiose than the zoom-out from the victory platform was.

*sigh*

It’s not that I hate the dream bubble scenes in A6A6I4 and A6A6I5 with Jade, Jane, and/or Calliope. It’s just that when I try to comment on and analyze those scenes, I spend big chunks of them being completely stumped as to what to say about them, so I kind of just end up going through them quickly and picking out a few bits of dialogue that I do have something to say about. And this scene is no exception: Jane asks when and how she can wake up, Calliope offers to wake her up the same way she woke Rose and Roxy to cut short their reunion in Act 6 Act 5, but then something else happens to the stage and spiral.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 130: um i guess this is the one where vriska devises the battle plan

Introduction

< Part 129 | Part 130 | Part 131 >

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5, Part 4 of 12

Pages 7515-7560

I couldn’t think of a good name for this post, so I’m left with a shitty name instead. Sorry about that.

The character select screen is officially over, and now we’re back to business with a comedic callback to Gamzee playing with dead trolls’ heads in [S] Flip. As much as A6A6I5 lays it thick with callbacks, I can’t stay mad at this one.

VRISKA: Ok every8ody, time’s up!!!!!!!!
VRISKA: Wrap up your convers8tions. Our tactical meeting is officially 8ack in order!

This passage combined with the panel above briefly portrays Vriska’s style of leadership in a more comedic light than usual.

This is a pretty fun group picture. I love how Vriska is standing on top of a fridge to indicate her leadership.

Vriska goes over the battle plans for our heroes to take down all remaining adversaries: the Condesce, Jack Noir, Jack Noir, Jack Noir, and possibly the Prospitian Monarch. She goes over them one by one, and so will I.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 129: Four More Massive Walls of Text

Introduction

< Part 128 | Part 129 | Part 130 >

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5, Part 3 of 12

Pages 7502-7514 (not in order)

This is the sort of bullshit that happens when you turn your back on the body.

As the Homestuck franchise continues to collapse in on itself due to yet another storm of fandom drama, Homestuck itself is here to stay, waiting to be read or reread by anyone who just wants to enjoy a good webcomic by Andrew Hussie. As for me, I just want to get my Homestuck blog post series done, and then I never have to think about Homestuck again! Of course, that doesn’t mean I will never think about Homestuck again, just that I will never have any reason to. I have only 11 posts left. Only 11 posts. ONLY 11 POSTS!!! And I’ll finish what I wanted to for the rewritten posts… oh, I don’t know, some other time.

Continuing from the last post, it’s time to go over the bottom half of the eight-way select screen: Roxy/Dave/Rose, Kanaya/Karkat/Vriska, Arquiusprite/Vriska/Terezi/Dave, and John/Jake. I think I’ll start with Kanaya/Karkat/Vriska, starting the post with a conversation consisting solely of trolls just like last time.

Ah, the two trolls whose zodiac symbols are fancy-looking M’s.
It’s been forever since they last conversed!

This is honestly one of the weirder conversations in the selection screen. It’s not much of a long-awaited reunion or new strong relationship between two characters, but rather like, “OK, this exists I guess”. I feel like I can mostly skim through this conversation and pick out interesting bits here and there.

First, Vriska talks about how wildly enthusiastic all the humans are to have their reunions, setting this conversation as one largely about comparing humans and trolls. Vriska brings up Rose as an especially good example, because her long-awaited motherly reunion has washed away her usual dry and aloof demeanor.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 128: Four Massive Walls of Text

Introduction

< Part 127 | Part 128 | Part 129 >

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5, Part 2 of 12

Pages 7486-7501 (not in order)

This is my last Homestuck post whose number is a perfect power!
128 is a power of 2, but sadly it isn’t a power of 4 or of 8.

It’s time to go through the top half of the eight-way conversation select screen, which is the first of several character selection screens in A6A6I5. I made a GIF of hovering over each selection option shown above. The select screen consists of eight conversations and is accompanied by some text narrated from the reader’s perspective, humorously discussing free will and helpfully providing eight links that turn purple when you’ve clicked on them so you know when you’re done with the conversations.

You are confronted with an especially empowering CHARACTER SELECTION MENU. Eight choices???????? Free will has done it again. It has caused you to feel alarmed and anxious. But maybe, just maybe, slightly excited as well. You cautiously click on a batch of teens to discover your true feelings.

Eight possible options is actually KIND OF A LOT, now that you think about it. It may be easy to forget to click some of them. To make absolutely sure you’ve clicked on all teen batches before proceeding, you check to see if all the links below are purple first. If any of them are blue, it means you didn’t read those, and you probably should before continuing. Wow, free will sure is a lot of responsibility and hard work.

This passage reads to me like Hussie saying he’s doing this select screen for the sake of fans, since he knows they wouldn’t be happy if they didn’t get some time to read hearty reunion conversations between all their favorite fictional teens. These conversations have quite a lot of fanservice in them, and late Homestuck has received a fair amount of criticism for having too much fanservice. As usual, I’ll see for myself whether all this is as bad as people say!

Now, which order will I go through the conversations in? Linear order would be super boring. How about I do an order where I deliberately consider what would flow the best in these posts? That’s what I’ve done in prior selection screens, so I’ll do that again. I think Terezi and Vriska’s conversation is a good place to start, since I had analyzed their pre-retcon selves plenty in A6A6I4.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 127: Proper Relevance at Long Last

Introduction

< Part 126 | Part 127 | Part 128 >

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5, Part 1 of 12

Pages 7449-7485

A6A6I5 has so many painfully boring panels, so I figured I’d have fun with the title pictures whenever I get the chance.

With my Psycholonials review post finished, now I can finally get on with the true home stretch of my Homestuck blog post series! It’s time to dive right in and analyze the final act of Homestuck that’s of substantial length: the polarizing Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5, or A6A6I5 for short.

Whether you love or hate Vriska, you can’t deny that her getting down to business with fully alive eyes is a satisfying shot.
Or maybe you can deny that?

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5 begins with a flash called Vriskagram. Technically, the flash is called [S] ACT 6 ACT 6 INTERMISSION 5, but everyone calls it Vriskagram because, well…

I love how the V in the Vriskagram logo is based on Vriska’s horns.

Yep, this is another instance of late Homestuck parodying social media of its time. In my Psycholonials review post, I talked at length about how the story explores the danger and perils of social media; Homestuck, in contrast, incorporates parodies of social media websites just for the hell of it. This light satire of social media is a fun motif, I must admit.

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Change of plans regarding my rewritten Homestuck posts

My classic Homestuck blog post series, the one I’ve been writing on and off since 2015, is on the verge of completion. I have only 14 posts left (start of A6A6I5 to the Snapchat credits), which is maybe more like the verge of the verge of completion, but it still truly feels like the final stretch! I’m greatly looking forward to the day I finish my Homestuck post series and the triumphant feeling of completion that it will surely bring… but what does that mean for my rewritten posts?

I had originally planned to end my rewritten Homestuck posts with the end of Act 5 Act 1 (the trolls’ arc), but I decided a few days ago that it would be better to finish those with the end of Act 4 instead. I’ve chosen this earlier cutoff point because I’m not motivated enough to finish my rewritten posts all the way up to Act 5 Act 1, but I still want to finish those at a natural cutoff point. I’ve been sitting on my next rewritten post (Act 4, part 2 of 6) since early March, and I’d love to finish rewriting my Act 4 posts before I’m finished with my Homestuck post series as a whole. Four and a half rewritten posts doesn’t seem like a tall order alongside the fourteen classic posts I’ve yet to write (after I write my Psycholonials review post, I have only one chapter before I’ve finished playing/reading it).

I had long wanted my rewritten posts to effectively supersede my original Homestuck posts, but now I think that if someone were to subject themselves to reading my Homestuck posts in comic order, it would be most interesting to start with the original posts and see my writing style and opinions on Homestuck evolve over time. As such, I’m not as fond of the idea of rewriting my Homestuck posts as I used to be, but I still want to give them a proper cutoff point rather than abruptly ending partway through Act 4.

For real, though, I want to finish my Homestuck post series as soon as I can so that I never have to think about Homestuck again! Even though I know deep down that I’ll never truly be free from Homestuck, it will be very liberating when I’m done with this ambitious project that I’ve willfully subjected myself to and could cancel at any time but have merely chosen not to. I can finish my Homestuck posts, and I will finish my Homestuck posts, much unlike what I thought during my nearly two years of hiatus through most of 2017 and 2018.

Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 126: CLAYMATION REVELATIONIFICATION STATION.

Introduction

< Part 125 | Part 126 | Part 127 >

Act 6 Act 6 Act 5

Pages 7409-7448

Because “CLAYMATION REVELATION STATION” wasn’t spicy enough.

Since I’m bored out of my mind, semester finished and all, there’s no better time than now to start the last leg of my Homestuck blog post series! Not to mention that I have all the rest of the season 1 posts for a different post series queued and ready to release… Before we begin, let me quickly recap what all is left in my Homestuck posts:

  • Act 6 Act 6 Act 5: 1 post (126)
  • Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5: 12 posts (127-138; last one covers everything post-Omegapause before [S] Collide)
  • [S] Collide and following pages: 1 post (139)
  • Act 7 and credits: 1 post (140)

I had said in earlier posts that I planned to immediately follow the ending of my Homestuck posts with a full-out epilogues analysis in the same style, but I don’t really feel like doing so anymore. My Homestuck blog post series has been going on for five and a half years already, and I’d rather give it a clear-cut ending than continue with its further media. I already made quite a few posts talking about the epilogues anyway, including my epilogues review post. And there’s no way I would ever want to do blog posts analyzing the absolute trainwreck that is Homestuck^2. If I keep a reasonable pace of about five Homestuck posts every month, I’ll finish this post series around the middle of August! It’s going to feel so amazing finishing these posts, but to get that feeling, I actually have to, you know, finish these posts.

Now, let’s begin Act 6 Act 6 Act 5, or as it’s better known, Caliborn’s Masterpiece.

Act 6 Act 6 Act 5 of Homestuck begins with a flash, featuring Caliborn’s crudely drawn curtains fading into the same design pasted on somewhat more realistic-looking curtains. This shows how far Caliborn has come as an artist while retaining at least some of his roots and his bizarre sense of humor… which is to say, Hussie’s bizarre sense of humor.

Speaking of Hussie’s bizarre sense of humor, I’ve been meaning to play Psycholonials, which will perhaps allow me to put a brand new layer of analysis on my Homestuck posts.

The curtains open to reveal a stage that parallels Calliope’s stage in the dream bubbles, with a purple spiral drawn with Caliborn’s old jagged art style instead of a smooth, artistic yellow spiral. Well, the purple spiral is artistic too, just in a different way. There isn’t much of a story behind the stages, and I don’t think there needs to be; they’re both just suitable places for each of the cherubs to tell stories.

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