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Rumisiel and Vashiel's living situation
- How is it that Dr. Upton has not evicted Rumisiel and Vashiel yet? They're pretending to be the same age as Ash and therefore legal minors - not to mention citizens of another country. Ash's father puts up with them like they're his own dumbass sons instead of asking why they haven't gone home after over a year of sleeping on his couch. At some point even the most laid-back parent is going to start poking into the question of where their parents are.
- Well he thinks Rumi and Ash are an item to the point of fantasizing about their wedding in one strip, so that probably explains Rumisiel's presence. Vashiel's is more complex. Or, they are just male versions of Pretty Freeloaders.
- Vashiel will pretty much do anything someone asks him to. Re-roofing the roof, normal household chores, and can be trusted to keep Rumi in line... Plus recently helping out with Dr Upton at the office, which is both helpful and pretty damn funny at the same time. Rumi still gets no help. Dr Upton is a pretty laid back guy. Ash gets super drunk and he just tells her that she'll have to pay for the booze she drank.
- Not a bad attitude really on that one though. Ash had pretty much scared herself silly at the thought of possibly having had unprotected sex with Vashiel while drunk, so any further punishment would pretty much be redundant and petty on the score. Lesson learnt all on its own. Paying for the booze she drunk is just reinforcing the idea of adult responsibility.
- Actually, Dr Upton knows Vashiel is an adult. He asked Vashiel to call him Edward. And I keep good track of the timeline for Misfile; it's up to December 2004 as of January 2012; Rumisiel has been staying with the Uptons for about 9 months. Less for Vashiel.
- If they're pretending to be around the same age as Ash, then they wouldn't be seen as legal minors. Ash is in high school, and about to graduate. Most people at that point are 18. And everybody knows Vashiel is older than Rumsiel, so there ya go.
- Before hiring Vashiel, Dr. Upton actually asks him, "You're over 18, right?", to which Vashiel replies: "Oh yes, quite a bit!"
- That's probably referring to the angels' immortality/Really 700 Years Old, rather than Vashiel's assumed age, knowing that he's incapable of lying. Rumisiel once stated he's somewhere in his 370's.
- Yes. We know.
- It may be part of the same reason nobody notices the pointy ears. The perception filter may embrace a subconscious 'push' towards "They are here. They are familiar. You probably should do something about them still being here sometime... but it's really not urgent, so why don't you forget about it for a while..." - a "Somebody Else's Problem Field", in effect.
- It's been asked in-comic, but how has Doctor Upton really not been sued? Or at least had all his patients leave for a less creepy/borderline molester OBGYN?
- He's just that good.
- Not buying it, just, so not buying it. Especially after this strip.
- Or this one.
- Rule of Funny?
- I always assumed he only acted that way in public, not when actually working, so most patients didn't have a reason to sue. Other than that, maybe he's just hot and only acts perverted around girls he knows won't get angry?
- Although I always assumed the above troper's point about acting professional while working before, he's canonically viewed as "Freaky-creepy" by at least some of the residents of Tempest, it seems: see this strip.
- He's a guy who can remember his patients by how their vaginas look. That alone (unless he was a pervert, which isn't likely to be the case) speaks volumes about the fact that he is a pretty good doctor. For as long as he really knows what he is doing and reserves jokes for his co-workers (most of whom likely worked with him for a long time and know it's not something "weird" but rather his poor attempts at being funny). And the one with Emily has a pretty simple explanations as well - the only two people who heard it were Ash and Emily, and he thought there was no harm in doing that because they were both girls (that, combined with him recognising people who are his patients by the look of their lady parts), but Emily was embarrassed because from her perspective, he had just said it in the presence of a boy; of course it still isn't something he should be praising her for, but his words in the car are actually his inept attempts at telling her that he did not want to make her feel that way.
And besides, there's also the fact that it is a small city, so it would likely be difficult for them to find another competent doctor if they fired him, just as it would be difficult for the patients to find one if they just tried to get to another doctor (more time-consuming than difficult, but the point stands).
- In other words, he's just an exceptionally creepy Bunny-Ears Lawyer? Although his recent treatment of Kate (who went into pre-term labor) shows he's actually quite professional in the office with patients.
- Early in the strip, why does Ash need to adjust the pedals on his car for his "little girly feet" when he's always been a girl, always has raced, and everything else fits him perfectly? (is this The Infamous Pedal Question?)
- It's a Plot Hole brought on by poor storytelling early on and a lack of Chekhov's Gun regarding Ash's changes. There is some frantic Hand Waving in the forum by the author, but it isn't terribly convincing. I wouldn't bring it up there though.
- The adjustable parts of that car (seat, mirrors, maybe steering column) that are naturally adjustable were, of course, adjusted to Ash's liking. Pedals aren't so adjustable (unless your car has that feature specifically), so we all adjust our pedal technique to fit the pedals. I adjust my technique when going from sneakers to snow boots. Ash learned how to fit his male feet to the pedals before the misfile, but never learned the technique that post-misfile Ash's feet would need. But since she doesn't want to adjust her technique (which would remind her of her new gender), she instead went through the process to fit the pedals to her pre-misfile style.
- Which is only explained on the forums or the liner notes and not done in the comic. It's either retconning a Plot Hole or just a poor piece of storytelling to start with.
- It is common knowledge women tend to have smaller feet than men.
- The bottom line: It's driving style. boy Ash had bigger feet than Girl Ash, so they pushed the pedals in different ways. Girl Ash learned to drive with the pedals in the original position, but like the heel-walking lessons and having sex with James, boy Ash didn't remember the technique.
- Okay, I can see that.
- Basically it isn't adjusting to the feet so much as the weight of the feet. That is, girl Ash is pushing on the pedals like boy Ash, and finding it oversensitive speeding up too fast/braking too hard, and throwing off her driving. Both boy and girl Ash are natural gearheads, so girl Ash would've adjusted it to her liking, which was very awkward to the real Ash.
Lesbianism and James
- Okay, I can buy Ash not claiming lesbianism because, well, that wouldn't stop the guys. But why not tell James? He'd understand, and he'd probably take it better than "There was nothing really there, by the way I have a boyfriend now."
- Probably felt too awkward.
- Or perhaps it would make it way too hard to explain Rumisiel living with her.
- I read somewhere (on the topic page for the comic, maybe) that a possible reason for not telling anyone about it is that if S/he did, her file would read as "her" coming out as transgender, which might carry over when Rumisiel corrected the misfile, in which case S/he'd be a woman trapped (non-magically) in a man's body.
- If Ash is actually in a feminine body, then eventually she should flush out her testosterone hormones through natural biology and replace them with estrogen hormones. While this seems to be happening, somewhat, it is happening WAY slower than it should.
- Girl Ash never had higher than normal levels of testosterone (normal human women generate some, but nowhere near as much as men do). She had always been female, and that includes the past tense — the files correct for paradox. Her mind, however, remembers being a guy. Her personality is changing a bit, since The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body, but it's not because the brain's flushed out testosterone.
- The comic itself seems to be following this transformation. Early on, it was still very much about the racing as well as the adjustment to the new body, but lately, all of the Cool Cars have been phased out in favor of more Wangst. The only explanation is that since Ash is the main character, the focus of the story gradually shifts to a more female one as s/he becomes more female.
- That or Cerebus Syndrome.
- Definitely Cerebus Syndrome. Also the cool cars are still there, it's just not the focus as much as it used to be. Ash is still very much a guy inside at any rate.
- Why doesn't Rumisiel just tell Vashiel about the error in filing, and have him just go fix it? He isn't in trouble; HE can get in.
- Rumisiel can't trust Vashiel not to tell anyone else about and he doesn't want to be out of Heaven permanently.
- Rumisiel also explained that if anyone in Heaven learned of the misfile (as they would if he told Vashiel, since Vashiel can't lie or even be deceptive) that it would be corrected by making things match the way they are now. Thus, Emily would forget those two years of her life completely, and Ash would forget s/he was ever a boy. Neither of them consider this a good thing.
- It would be a better solution than what's happening now (a whole lot of nothing) and the story could have ended hundreds of strips ago instead of becoming incredibly long in the tooth. Both Emily and Ash are having much better lives due to the various changes made to events through the misfile, but at the same time they're tormented by the knowledge of what was and no longer is. After all, what you don't know can't hurt you...
- Who is going to follow that logic? Rumi won't do it because it means getting kicked out of heaven for good. Ash won't do it because it borders on suicide; boy-Ash truly ceases to exist at that point. Accepting the new body — which is still obviously a stretch for Ash — is pretty far off from accepting getting your memories of your entire life rewritten. Emily might not mind it for herself, but presumably wouldn't want that to happen to Ash.
- It is mentioned that due to Vashiel's ranking, he is completely incapable of lying (pointed out when he blurts out that he loves Ash).
- Vashiel wouldn't be able to fix it anyway. Early in the comic, the filing depots were shut down. Nobody could get at the file to fix it. Not to mention, Vashiel wouldn't be able to make a valid excuse (because that would be a lie, which he is unable to do) and the truth would have the file corrected in a bad way.
- It was explained early on that Ash still remembers having been male because that's what his file said when switched to the Female drawer. Emily, however, is missing two years of her life from her folder. Why does she remember those two years? One would think that she either would have woken up not remembering anything from her junior or senior years of high school, but it makes no sense that she would be two years younger when her folder was supposedly replaced properly, just with missing pages.
- Well, the pages are still a part of the file, even if they are missing. If the pages got destroyed, Emily would forget.
- It's because the first page contains a summary of some sort that gives Emily's premisfile age.
- There's an explanation in the summary of the heavenly filing system. Basically, Emily and Ash's souls are out of synch with the rest of the universe, so they don't get "updated" when things change.
- This one's more only bugged me on a "Is it a coincidence, an in-joke, a plot thing, or what?" level — Missi Fuller. It's pretty clear that her name bares a definite resemblance to the title, but is that going to come up or what? Was it even on purpose?
- While we're on the subject of Meaningful Names, Rumisiel is an alcoholic.
- We also have Ash, a name which can be linked with death and rebirth.
Breaking up with Missi
- So, this one's bugged me for a while: Ash's reason for breaking up with Missi. To me, having him break up with her because he "wasn't the man" in the relationship came across as whiny and ridiculous - there were infinitely better reasons to go about it (sheer discomfort with his body, for example), but no, we get a kowtow to stereotyped gender roles: Ash can't be "the man" unless he desperately wants his girlfriend all the time, when in fact his lack of desire could have just been a sign that they weren't meant to be a couple. What made it even worse is that Emily, the usual voice of reason for when Ash makes a boneheaded comment like that, didn't object to Ash's reasoning...and had plenty of motivation to hold her thoughts even if she did think it was stupid, therefore making the whole thing come across as completely straight instead of the comic's previous attempts to maneuver around stereotypes with stuck-in-his-ways Ash and mildly-reasonable Emily. To me, this is the exact point where the comic started leaping straight over a shark, because it marks the point where Ash's definition of masculinity became unreasonable.
- If you wanted to be charitable, you could assume that one of those better reasons like discomfort with his body is the real reason, and 'not being the man' is just how Ash interprets his discomfort.
- It seemed a valid reason. It fits Ash's mentality to want to be "the man", though it's a bit hard to explain beyond that.
- It was kind of stupid, but that's the point. Ash is getting more and more unreasonable with this sort of thing as time goes on. Just recently, for example a classmate tried to help "her" with "her" classwork, and he perceived it as a blow to his masculinity. Though, one can hardly blame him for desperately trying to hold on to his rapidly decreasing manliness. Lots of guys in his situation would probably act the same.
- Say what you will about Ash's reaction here, but Emily not providing the voice of reason makes perfect sense: She loves Ash and hates Missi (even if she's in a bit of denial about the first one). She's not going to go out of her way to keep them together.
- Well, aside from incredibly (deleted) condescending statements about teenagers, people don't always act rationally. Ash isn't shown to be particularly mature for any age-set, and the fact that he has problems understanding his feelings is a plot point for god's sake. Seriously, people in the real world do things for ludicrous and illogical reasons all the time; why are we expecting a manga character to be perfectly rational? It's not even in Ash's character to be rational, he's neither particularly smart nor down to earth nor street smart.
- To me it wasn't really ridiculous, since I've felt that way and I'm a girl. I went on a date with a girl that was younger than me and she was someone that would offer to buy me things and initiate everything. I know that it's really stupid, but I was kinda bugged for being treated like the 'girl' as well. It's possible that Ash just would prefer to initiate things and Missi being so aggressive in the relationship made him feel like he was just being pulled around.
- You have to remember that when he was still male, he was a fan of the "yuri" genre of pornography (or whatever that is), and there characters are often classed as either "male" ("seme", the dominant one) or "female" ("uke", the subservient one). And that is where his biased approach comes from - he came to associate being the one who is more aggressive in a lesbian couple with being more manly because it was presented to him that way and he didn't exactly have any experience with being a lesbian at that point (when he was reading these magazines as a boy) to be able to tell whether it's true or not.
- What got to me, and was the reason I eventually stopped reading, was all the fanservice. It would be bad enough on its own, but every female character is under 18 (with the possible exception of Ash, given what someone said above, but I was pretty sure she was supposed to be 17). Missi is 15, for Christ's sake! Ew.
- If you don't mind answering them, I have two questions for you: How old are you?, and How many teenagers do you know very well? Here's a hint: real teens often dress like this.
- I honestly don't find the fanservice to be all that bad. The one who is really Ms. Fanservice would be Cassiel—who is centuries old—or Kate, who seems to be in her twenties. Occasionally Ash does it as well. But Missi and Emily don't show that much flesh. There was the pool scene, but that was actually relevant to the plot as it involved Ash coming to grips with being a girl, and Emily slowly falling in love.
- And to nip the next example in the bud, I would like to point out that I, as a straight male troper in his late teens, found the bathtub scene not at all sexy.
- The fanservice level has gone down recently, as well as the "We're on the point of solving a sub plot, let's throw in an interruption" events.
- What's wrong with teenage fanservice? Well, I'm only 20, but I find some high schoolers attractive (I probably wouldn't date one though) and I don't see what the hell the problem is; the youngest character is 15. That's consent-age in many countries (though not the USA, where it varies by state from 16-18). In many times and places 30 year olds would date 13 year olds, there are scholars who think Romeo from Romeo and Juliet was like 10 years older than Juliet. I just don't get what's wrong with fanservice involving post-puberty girls, I mean sure if it was lolicon, but it's not. Hell my appearance hasn't really changed since I was 14 (I could already grow a beard by then).
- Some annoying prude has obviously never watched an anime (or has, but is still being a prude). At least the Misfile girls have realistic body proportions.
- For a fanservice, whatever is in this comic is pretty tame, in a large part because "less clothed" scenes are always part of the plot and not just random nudity. And besides, what does their apparent age matter? They are fictional characters and nothing more than that.
- One thing that bugs me is the question of just how immortal are the angels? While all indications are that they'll never die of old age, that leaves the question of what can kill them? Ash and Emily are under the impression that they wouldn't be able to kill angels, and both reference that they consider Rumisiel immortal (usually to threaten violence well beyond what they could do to another human). That said, we've already seen one dead angel, and even before that point it was acknowledged that angels could, in fact, die. So just what is the boundary? You need power at least on par with an angel to kill one? Are they potentially vulnerable to mortals and it's just assumed otherwise? Do they have some sort of Kryptonite Factor but are otherwise immortal?
- For what I've seen, it seems to require a certain amount of power. One of the main reasons Rumisel suspected that Vashiel might have killed the dead angel is because Vashiel had earned some ranks because of his power as an angel, and so earned that particularly powerful sword we've seen once. I believe angels having that sword should be capable of killing other angels.
- I think it would require one of those holy swords that Vashiel has. Car crashes apparently wouldn't do anything, since Rumsiel doesn't care about the lack of seatbelts. Unknown what something like a handgun would do, but my Genre Savvy radar would say they are Immune to Bullets, since most things like that are.
- One thing that bugs me is how no one has called out Missi on her selfish nature. She belittles Ash, ignoring his opinions when they conflict with hers; pesters everyone to do what she wants, which usually happens; and even bitched at Kate about Heather on Kate's wedding day. Points to Kate for calling her out on this and threatening harm, but it doesn't seem to have done any good.
- As you just pointed out, Missi tends to ignore other people's opinions. Trying to call her out on anything is unlikely to work.
- Missi's the youngest, she had Tom for a brother, and she's one of the few people Ash relates to well. Still, some further character development would be nice.
Missi's lie detection
- Speaking of Missi, how is it that Missi makes a point of pointing out that Ash is a terrible liar, but she accepts Ash's "I'm having my period" excuse? So, the more Missi gets to know Ash the less she knows...I call shenanigans!
- Maybe Missi accepted the excuse because she respects Ash and doesn't want to call her out. Calling someone a terrible liar when they pretend not to like you is one thing, calling someone out on using an excuse in that sort of situation is probably going to make you seem pushy.
- Ok, this has been bugging me for a long time: both the 'boy' and 'girl' Ashs seem to be heterosexual (by Ash's admission and girl Ash's night with James respectively), but somehow Ash manages to end up attracted to girls out of the whole deal. While it's certainly a blessing for both Ash and the readers, it seems odd that an answer hasn't come up in the comic.
- Ash still has the mind, personality, and memories of the heterosexual male version despite the misfile, so he/she kept that version's sexual preferences.
- The only problem I have with that argument is that, according to The Other Wiki, sexual preference is biological, not psychological. So then the misfile would need to have left Ash's brain chemistry mostly unchanged; it seemingly didn't, given the night with James and the magazines. Therefore, the world changed on the assumption that Ash was a heterosexual girl, and Ash's body was recreated on the assumption that Ash should have been a heterosexual boy, but wasn't. But then it would make sense for the world to change on the same information, but it doesn't. I know I'm going to get a MST3K Mantra link or a hot debate for all this, but it just bugs me.
- Er, the Other Wiki seems to be a bit biased on this one. There is considerable debate on whether sexual orientation is psychological or biological. At any rate, how you should be imagining it is this: there is boy Ash and girl Ash, in two separate universes. One day day girl Ash's brain is replaced with boy Ash's brain. Cue boy Ash's confusion.
- Furthermore, the most common biological explanations for homosexuality are neurological and not purely hormonal (at least by that stage of physical development). Ash has a boy's brain, not a girl's, or otherwise he'd be girl Ash.
- He remembers his life as a boy, so he remembers his attraction to females, while refusing to accept that his new body is (or would be) attracted to males. Problem solved.
- From a different perspective, the James incident does not actually mean that Girl Ash was straight. It's entirely possible that both Ashes were attracted to girls and female-Ash was just repressed. Or bi.
- Alternatively, Ash's file might list his orientation as "likes girls" instead of "straight."
- Or the archive recreated the story with Ash as a straight girl, but the misfile made the whole thing glitch and now "her" orientation is "whatever his happened to be, from the perspective of his gender".
Gender and racing
- Is Ash ever going to realize that his gender had nothing to do with how much he liked racing? It's been more or less confirmed that the female Ash was just as much a racer, and that 'they' both strongly identify/identified with it. Here's hoping it doesn't come at too Wangsty a moment.
- Huh? Ash got over this part of her femininity a long time ago, within the first couple volumes even. In fact, racing seems to be the one thing that never changed between his/her two lives, which is probably why s/he holds to it so dearly.
- Not to do with the comic, more the production behind it: Chris manages to update a quality comic five times a week, offers books, merchandise and commissions, gets hundreds of thousands hits a day and has been going for years. Why isn't the comic making him more money?
- People are greedy bastards and don't donate. Or they, like me, have no ability to donate. Hell if I could I'd have him draw a few commissions.
- Hundreds of Thousands? Is Misfile really that popular? With that traffic he'd have to make quite a bit to pay the hosting fees. Do we know how much money he makes? Since he's releasing a comic 5 days a week, I'm assuming it is his full time job, so if he has a comfortable living that is nice, even if he isn't rich. If he wanted to be rich, his best hope would be to sell the rights to make an anime off of it or something like that.
- IIRC, Chris works as a mechanic full-time, and over the course of the comic, there have been times where he's had considerable financial difficulty.
- If writing webcomics was his full-time job, I'd expect a much higher output than five pages a week.
- Why? Other webcomic authors whose comics really are their full-time jobs have about the same per-week output or even much less.
- There's also the fact that money from the comic is going to have to go towards the comic itself (paying for ad space on other sites, paying for the site itself, production costs, replacing/upgrading software/hardware etc).
- It all depends on how the whole "income from advertisements" works for them - even if this comic is popular, it is still pretty niche (due to dealing with gender issues and thus scaring away some potential viewers) and might simply not be advertised enough on other sites, thus making its advertisement ranking much lower and doing the same to potential income from ads.
- How come the author hasn't made a potential soundtrack yet? For example, this song would very well fit the "72 Years" arc, and this would be good racing music, considering it appeared on a NASCAR compilation album.
- He has, just wander to the forums and you'll be given a link to both the author''s preferences and several fan recommendations for a soundtrack as well.
- One fan recommendation is "Casper (or, The Day That Never Comes)" for, you guessed it, the "72 Years" arc.
- Ok, being suddenly trapped in an unknown body would be upsetting, so I can accept Ash's Wangsting most of the time. But this page really bugs me. Is winning an argument through talking really that upsetting, Ash? Why go all emo over winning an argument verbally?
- Calm down. Ash is clearly being immature there and the comic is obviously leading to make him/her learn that.
- He/She learns his/her lesson here.
- It's not the fact that it was verbals, it's that it was "whiny, bitchy put-downs" - a very "girly" way of winning an argument.
- Boy Ash most likely would have handled the situation differently (i.e. the things Ash specifies he DIDN'T do). He probably sees them as masculine solutions, and the fact that he avoided them would feel like a blow to his masculinity.
- It's Ash's fear of him turning feminine that is acting up - it is pretty understandable (even if he did act immature then) if you consider how much his masculinity means for him.
- What was the point of the Halloween party? It was talked about for two books, then we spend about two weeks on it before Ash leaves. The Cassiel and Eponine moment was heartwarming, and Ash meeting Tom shows how much he (Ash) has grown. But aside from that, it seemed worthless story-wise. Nothing big was resolved, there were no new plots implemented and Ash and Em's conversation afterwards just pointed out the obvious and resolved nothing.
- It wasn't worthless as a matter of character development given the two scenes you mentioned above, and it also sets up the following race story arc. The party wasn't meant to be a climax. It's just a one-night background event that teenagers might reasonably talk about for a couple of weeks (or months in webcomic time).
- In various trope entries regarding Misfile, I keep seeing the phrase "Girl Ash's life is so much better than Boy Ash's was." Um... How? Granted, Ash's improved relationship with his mother and the presence of Emily are pretty big things. But those two alone don't make life "almost completely better." What else does Girl Ash's life have that Boy Ash's life didn't (or couldn't)?
- It's not uncommon in coming-of-age fiction for the moral of the story to be "undesired changes are an opportunity to make your life better". The implication of the story is actually that all of the good things now in our protagonist's life were always there or within his reach (there are repeated hints that his poor relationship with his mother, for instance, was a matter of his own stubborn refusal to pick up the phone) and that being taken out of his comfort zone was all he needed to realize what he could do and take advantage of it.
- Basically, it's not "girl ash" who has the better life, it's "self-aware ash". He's been forced to examine his past (because details have literally changed) and realized that there was a lot of good in it, whereas he hasn't applied the same scrutiny to his male past. Chances are that before the start of the main plot-line, girl ash was a whiny teenager angsting over how much her life sucked, too. Ash's defining personality characteristic gender-regardless is that he has to be dragged into adulthood kicking, screaming, and clawing for any handhold he can find to maintain his teen mopiness.
- Ash "him"self said he had a poor relationship with his father (to the point of feeling unwanted), and had no relationship at all with his mother (and was depressed about it). His only stated friend, James, was halfway across the country. He was pretty much alone, felt unwanted, and just raced cars and did nothing with his life with no real motivations and no goals. Since changing to a girl s/he has a good relationship with his father (spurred on by being broken out of his shell by Emily), a good relationship with his mother, a good friend who cares for him deeply, a host of other good friends, and a life that's on track with better grades in school. Ash's life is better in every way than the one he had before, and many people would kill to have a clean slate with all the errors they made corrected. He has friends, family and a borderline soulmate: something he never had before. The only thing I can think of that would make him want to go back is the idea that he just wants a standard (read: straight) adult relationship with Emily.
- Really, after reading this comic for so many years and recently going back for a re-read, Ash's desire to go back to the way they were seem more like an illogical obsession based on discomfort (which will fade) and a drive to keep at his original decision without thinking on it properly. As if he just cannot realize he has a much better life and has made a mistake in his decision, something that wouldn't come early on but would be a good twist in the future of the comic. This troper would take Ash's supposed "curse" for a better life with all mistakes fixed with all his lost friends/family back in a heartbeat.
- So basically, the answer is really "Ash's life is better with Emily in it."
- Also the very fact that Ash's life is better as a girl is a source of angst for him.
- So basically: "Ash's life would be so much easier if he'd just let go of his gender identity and enjoy being a girl fully?" I shudder to think what the reaction would be if the genderswap direction were switched.
- And it's odd: A similar case can be made for Ming in The Wotch(who embraces her gender-bending as a fresh start). But most readers of that comic treat her situation as ongoing Fridge Horror.
- The answer is pretty simple - Ash's life as a girl was better because there was nothing "she" did not have that "he" had, and yet there were certain things "he" lacked that "she" had. Ignoring the episode with James (because he would perceive his "female" virginity as something he had lost, but virginity is more mental than biological and as a "former" male he shan't really care about that because he did not get the drilling on how virginity is something to be treasured that most girls do), and the fact that he is aware that other men are looking at his body with lust (but it is only that annoying for him because as a "former" male he expects them to look and is thus more sensitive to the whole thing), it really is more positive for him. His relationship with his father is better than it was originally (because his father is not expecting a usual male response from him, and thus allows himself to get a little closer to Ash), likewise his relationship with his mother (because he wasn't stopped by the usual "it's not manly enough" male stupidity and contacted her, and since she seems to be a good parent, even if not an experienced one, yeah...), and he has more friends and also some sort of drive in life that can extend outside his high school life (and before he didn't really care enough about his post-school life). And then there's also the stuff that happened because of the misfile - his friendship with Emily (regardless of his desire to change back into a man and be with her as her boyfriend, and this friendship has helped both of them as Emily is now closer to choosing a college she would actually want to go to instead of ruining her life by choosing a path that did not suit her, and that is if she was even alive at that point in the original timeline), his quasi-friendship with Kate (and let's be honest, he would not have been able to "defeat" her in the original timeline, regardless of whether Rumisiel were there or not), and generally becoming more social (read: social enough to be able to cope with his life later) as the result of being forced to interact with people. Of course, the difference isn't all that astounding, but overall his life as a female was better, and the one thing that could've really changed that were periods, but his case might not be valid here because he was overreacting because of how uncomfortable he feels due to having periods when being mentally a male.
And here comes the problem that caused the whole thing - the fact that he is feeling uncomfortable as a female because he's constantly reminded of his lost status as a male. For many of us this would not be that much of a problem, because humans are capable of getting used to many things, but in his case it is one and it stems from the relative shallowness of his male self's life. It sounds crazy, but think about it - if you were to describe male Ash's life from his own perspective, you would write "male" and "racing"; that's right, only two words, and that means being changed into a girl made him think that a large part of himself (about 50%) is missing. And he doesn't want to be missing anything so he is trying to get back to being a male, and the realization that he is actually enjoying himself as a female (not in the "this body is awesome" way, but rather "this life is more comfortable [if you ignore the body itself]" one) makes him both scared and angry because he thinks that he is abandoning a fundamental part of himself and blames his own actions and thoughts for that. That is a lot of self-anger and self-loathing, especially when he is also confronted by Emily who tells him that she is also much more comfortable with her current life, because from then on he's also getting angry at himself for not thinking about Emily (who is a girl, and with him as a male that is an issue for him) and still trying to "fix" everything. So he's pretty much in a mental checkmate, not really knowing what to do because there's no "right" choice there, only "more wrong" and "less wrong" one (unless Rumisiel cheats the system somehow) and they aren't labelled so he doesn't know which one is not as bad as the other.
- What bugs me is how often Ash is called "she" or "he/she" on the wiki. We're talking about a comic with relatively realistic portrayal of gender dysphoria, dressed in a magical metaphor, not some kind of transformation fetish story. Show some respect for him, please.
- Thank you for explaining it better than I have been able to.
- This reaction can likely be blamed on the Second Law of Gender Bending.
- The problem with using the correct gender pronoun is likely caused by most tropers simply not knowing which gender pronoun does apply in this case, because he is both male (mentally) and female (biologically) at the same time. And even many people for whom such a condition (a person perceiving themselves to be of the opposite gender on the subconscious level) ought to be a good enough justification to use the pronoun corresponding to said person's mental gender, do address them with pronouns matching their physical genders instead, and that includes even most doctors. So basically, it's about many of us not being used to talking about transsexual people (hence "she" and "her") and trying not to offend the person in question by using both variants (hence "he/she", "s/he", "his/her", etc.).
- Another problem that arises is that unlike other transsexual webcomics, Ash is in a transformation one as well. This means that he didn't grow up in a female body and felt that he was really a he. Rather, he was biologically a he until becoming a she which causes confusion on what is being said. There is not only biologically boy Ash, but girl Ash that grew up a girl and the Ash we see, a boy in a girl's body. Having to say this much is long and tedious for many people and creates chaos for pronouns because when saying he some WILL think you mean something else than what you meant. Lastly, in those transsexual webcomics, the transitioning character is transitioning already, making them look somewhat like what they feel inside even when they are in the nude. Ash doesn't. He looks like a girl and isn't trying to wrap breasts or such. That's the difference to many people, unfortunately.
- How did Missi get so close to Ash and Em? After the breakup, they were treating her like a stalker (and she was acting like one), but it seems like she's Ash's closest friend other than Emily... and she still acts like a stalker. It might just be that I was reading before she was introduced, but the depth of her integration, although I didn't question it as it was taking place, seems jarring in retrospect.
- "She's like a fungus. She grows on you."
- But in all seriousness, her behavior got less "assaulty" and more harmless over time. Plus the episodes with the gin and the movie theater made her more vulnerable and sympathetic in Ash's eyes, which doesn't give her carte blanche for being annoying but does make her easier to live with. YMMV obviously, but he seems to treat her like a ward or little sister now (which would, admittedly, drive Missi insane if she were perceptive enough to notice).
- When Rumisiel photoshopped fake nudes of Ash to trade for the "real" nude pictures of Eponine why didn't it occur to anyone that those pictures could have been faked as well?
- They were only looking for proof that they did not come from Logan's camera. If they found evidence that the photos were faked, they would have been quite content with that.