TB Skyen is a Danish Youtuber focusing on analysing character design in video games.
His major series are:
- "What's the Deal With [X]", which is about looking at a character (usually but not exclusively from League of Legends) and discussing how their concept and backstory are expressed through their character designs;
- "The Boss Designs of Dark Souls", a Let's Play with character design commentary as a coda to the videos;
- and "A Quick Look at [Y]", which generally take 10-15 minute looks at the aesthetics of games Skyen doesn't have time to get into in-depth, such as Darkest Dungeon.
He also discusses things like the aesthetics of movie trailers, particularly game adaptations such as Pokémon Detective Pikachu.
Tropes applying to TB Skyen or his videos
- Alternate Character Interpretation: Skyen's Boss Designs of Dark Souls/Bloodborne series runs on this. Since he bases his readings on his experience and his alone, without doing deep research on the lore like other soulsborne content creators, he tends to end up with rather unique interpretations.
- His reading on Rom the Vacuous Spider is that she's a parasite who consumes humanity's insight, preventing the denizens of Yharnam from perceiving the world around them being an unintended side-effect.
- In his video on Martyr Logarious, he acknowledges the common interpretation that Logarious donned the crown of illusions to keep Annalise imprisoned, but suggests an alternate reading that Logarious had a Heel Realization, donning the crown as a symbollic defection from the Church.
- While discussing Raime the Fume Knight, he sees the irony of both Raime and his archrival Velstadt ended up in the same position, guarding a dead monarch, but thinks that Raime got out on top anyway, since he chose to guard Nadalia because they both desired company, and were able to provide it for each other, whereas Velstadt has lost everything of himself except his Undying Loyalty to the King.
- He reads the blood-starved beast not as a violent monster that attacks on sight out of hunger, but rather as a martyr; The beasts of old Yharnam clearly has a kind of religion set up worshipping a similar, crucified beast, and the Blood-Starved Beast is fought in a church far away from the other beast's primary site of worship, and even further away from any sources of blood. In Skyen's reading, the Blood-Starved beast is willingly starving itself as a sort of martyr or example; It's practicing ascetism to tell its fellows that they should not give in to the thirst for blood.
- Amazon Chaser: Skyen has never concealed that he has a thing for muscular women, such as Illaoi or post-rework Akali from League of Legends.
- Analysis Channel: Dedicated to video game character design and art direction.
- Angrish: His fight with Dark Sun Gwyndolin.Captions: HAHKLBFJGKHTJ! WHRGAHJLK!
- Animal Lover: Has mentioned affection for both cats and dogs in past. He also loves pet rats, which is why he particularly dislikes the stereotypical representation of rats in video games. This proves...problematic when interacting with Great Grey Wolf Sif in Dark Souls.Clip of Rosa Diaz: I've only had [Sif] for a day and a half, but if anything happened to him, I would kill everyone in this room and then myself.
Skyen: <after dying at Dennis' hands> GGRRAAAAAGH! YOU! DENNIS!
- Armorer Dennis from Dark Souls II. It took Skyen many deaths to beat him the first time he invaded in the Forest of Fallen Giants, and when Dennis attacked again at the start of the Iron Keep, Skyen almost had an aneurysm.
[Pursuer rises from the Smelter Demon arena] Oh, you have got to be kidding me.
- Of course, the Pursuer quickly becomes this.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: A list of the stuff he's been working on in offscreen grinding from Dark Souls goes through the upgrades to his gear, only to end in "Developed crippling addiction to zweihander R2s"note
- From the Scorpioness Najka video:Skyen: Now this particular contradiction in terms is at the heart of a lot of literature, and a lot of movies, and a lot of absolutely terrible teenage poetry written by me...
- From the Scorpioness Najka video:
- Asexuality: Close, but not quite. Skyen is aromantic, which means no interest in relationships.
- Bait-and-Switch: "What's the Deal with Yuumi?" breaks off the usual stuff after a few minutes to call Riot Games out for having a trashfire corporate culture full of sexism and harassment.
- Bait-and-Switch Comparison: During his video on the art for the Legends of Runeterra sub-expansions for the "Call of the Mountain" set, he got to the art for The Grand Plaza◊ and commented on the fact that the central human figure of the art, a woman seated on horseback, was facing away from the viewer's perspective:
- Berserk Button: Characters who are highly sexualised for no reason, particularly ones wearing a Chainmail Bikini, typically get pretty short shrift from him. It's not that he objects to women being sexy, exactly, just women who are sexy "because sexy", without that really playing a role in the character's story. Even worse is when them being sexy works contrary to their character theme, which is why Kai'Sa is probably his most-hated champion design in League of Legends.
Skyen: Oh, is it time for my monthly 4 o'clock complaining session already?
- On a related note, Kai'Sa's design in and of itself is a frequent target for complaints and lambasting for him, due to how her rough and perilous backstory clashes with her design, which he describes as "Scarlett Johansson in a body condom" with flawless hair and makeup. Lampshaded in his League of Legends Design Hot Take Shorts when he gets to Kai'Sa:
- Bias Steamroller: Skyen openly admits that he has biases that impact his readings, which is perhaps most obvious in how often anti-capitalist themes sneak into his boss design videos. He also hates pointless sexualization and modern Call Of Duty-style military aesthetics.
- Black Widow: After finding and putting on the Knight's garments in Bloodborne, Skyen (while doing an outrageous British accent) dreams of going to the ball and finding himself a suitor... and then kill him for his money.
- Buffy Speak: All over the place, especially in his Dark Souls videos, which are not only largely unscripted but also often in fairly tense situations in-game.Skyen: I'm just gonna...I'm just gonna not with him. He...no.
Skyen: [sees the Iron Golem for the first time] Him big. Him very big. Him laaaaarge.
Skyen: [after That One Level] Fromsoft needs to be thrown in prison for crimes.
- Casual Kink: Skyen has no problem talking about most kinks and fetishes as long as it doesn't get explicit.Skyen: The world is kinky, human beings are kinky, and it's broadly speaking harmless so long everybody's educated. Repression is what leads to the damage, you know?
- Catchphrase: Several!
- Referring to animation as being "animated on twos", which he says in nearly every animation breakdown. He's also very quick to point out when a particular element is hand-animated.
- When analysing character design, he'll frequently say they're "created to embody an archetype, not to challenge it", or variations thereof; this one is so common that his shorts-centric channel has emotes based on it.
- Caustic Critic: Largely averted. While he'll give a bad design both barrels, he has no problem with praising a good one...although he will still nitpick just a bit.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Some particularly hard fights in games like Hollow Knight or the Dark Souls franchise provoke this.
- Corpsing: Sometimes his commentary during gameplay or while watching a movie trailer can be interrupted by, for example, his hopeless giggle fit at the sight of a furious Jigglypuff in a crappy dive bar in the trailer for Pokémon Detective Pikachu.
- Description Cut: The Capra Demon Boss Designs episode has him talking about how he's heard the Capra Demon is the easiest thing ever, intercut with sepia-toned excerpts from later in the episode showing the Capra Demon handing him his ass on a platter.
- Dissonant Laughter: When Skyen encounters the Hollowed Vendrick, he can do nothing but laugh at the sight. The mighty king, the one who's been set up and foreshadowed for the entire game... and he's nothing but a hollow wandering mindlessly around in a circle.
- The Dog Was the Mastermind: Skyen's theory about the true Greater-Scope Villain of Bloodborne. It's not the Healing Church. It's not Byrgenwerth, the School of Mensis, or even the great ones. It's actually the Kos Parasite, a parasite too small to notice, but carried by blood. It infested Kos and forced her to swim into the fishing hamlet's nets, jumping to the people of the hamlet. When Byrgenwerth scholars arrived, it jumped to them, influencing them in the form of a mania, an obsession with higher beings, causing them to commit atrocities in an attempt at ascending this realm. The entire game is nothing but a stage in the life cycle of this parasite, and humanity is just something it uses to reach its true prey; the Great Ones.
- Eat the Rich: Skyen is strongly anti-capitalist because of how it's a system that rewards exploiting the powerless.
- He freely admits that his readings of Dark Souls and Bloodborne are influenced by it. In Dark Souls II, he reads the Tseldora area as a critique of a capitalist system that exploits its denizens to feed a giant monster, and in the video on Laurence, he reads the entire society of Yharnam as exploitative of the lower classes, noting that there are fewer beasts the higher up you go.
- In The Great Ace Attorney he is very sympathetic to the Coachman, Beppo, who is being forced to run the last bus of the day at a loss in spite of the bone-chilling cold by the Coachmens Guild - in spite of him being amongst the witnesses falsely accusing his client.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Occasionally he'll put in a caption that's only onscreen for a moment. For example, while discussing an image discussing demonology in League of Legends that he claims is "a conspiracy to drive people like [him] to the brink of madness", the phrase "FIDDLESTICKS IS REAL" is stamped on the screen for less than a second.
- Gender Flip: Skyen has an entire series on his shorts channel discussing whether a character could be genderswapped without having to fundamentally rewrite the story. Among others, he thinks Ashe can't be flipped because her story is tied to the idea of womanhood, Draven can be flipped because his wrestling heel persona isn't necessarily masculine, and Cloud could not work as a cis woman due to his entire conflict being about masculinity, but could work as a trans woman.
- The Good King: Discussed in his video on Azir. Skyen is firmly anti-monarchist, and believes that there is no such thing as a good king in real life, but he also admits that the trope is fun to play with in fiction.
- Insistent Terminology: Whenever he encounters a gargoyle enemy, he tends to go on a rant about the difference between a Grotesque (any monstrous statue decorating a building) and a Gargoyle (a grotesque specifically designed to redirect water).
- Kangaroo Court: Describes one in What's the Deal with Shyvana?, which he hopes will be reflected in League lore. Shyvana, the half-dragon of Demacia, is dragged in chains to a public trial after her little Brainwashed and Crazy rampage in ruination. Her defenders, mostly friends in the dragon guard, are shouted down, while her accusers, most of which have never met her and make wild accusations about her raiding villages and plundering livestock, are given all the time in the world to plead their case. Worst of all, she's accused of having seduced the king (whereas Skyen's actual interpretation is that the king has an unreciprocated crush on her).
- Laughing Mad: Dissolves into maniacal laughter after pressing the "cancel out of menu" button too often in Dark Souls and rolling backwards off a cliff.
- And also when he runs out onto the lava fields of Lost Izalith without remembering that he'd unequipped the Charred Orange Ring.
- Let's Play: The Boss Designs of Dark Souls videos are functionally a Let's Play of, at present, the first two games and Bloodborne (with plans to play Dark Souls III, and Elden Ring when the time comes, as well as the remaster of Demon's Souls), with a coda to each episode discussing the design of whichever boss he just killed.
- Mad Libs Catch Phrase:
- Opens most videos with "Hello [nouns] and [other nouns], my name is TB Skyen," where the nouns a) are relevant somehow to the topic under discussion, and b) start with the same letter. For example, the Tomb of the Giants in Dark Souls earns the line "Hello giants and grave robbers".
- "That's not [X] at all!" upon receiving rude surprises, such as if he was expecting a shield bash and instead got hit with a spell.
- It's also inverted in that he has a Mad Libs Signing-Off Catchphrase - the dislike button is generally presented as being.. malicious. Clicking on it might initiate self destruct, or give you nightmares, or it might have Come Back Wrong - it, like the Mad Libs Catch Phrase of two nouns, tends to be related to whatever the video was discussing.
- Nervous Wreck: Has mentioned that he suffers from anxiety, and things like, say, Blighttown make it worse.
- Nightmare Fetishist: He appreciates characters that are designed to be ugly in compelling and interesting ways (as opposed to ones that are just ugly because the character model isn't very good), to the point of lamenting a trend in League of Legends towards more "badass" characters and away from "ugly" ones. For example, he really likes the Demon of Song in Dark Souls II, a hideous monster that resembles a skull-like zombie face poking out of a horrible brown frog creature, and spends a decent chunk of the boss fight geeking out about it.Skyen: (gleefully) Look at this thing, it's so creepy!
- No Sense of Direction: Occasionally has trouble with navigation in games in the Dark Souls series, much to the frustration of his stream chat.
- One of Us: Occasionally references TV Tropes in his videos. In the Twin Dragonriders episode he mentions that he knows this page exists (although he doesn't want to read it).
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Skyen usually affects an Americanized accent for his videos, but occasionally his native Danish will bleed in.
- Oppose What You Suffered: Inverted. Skyen is very vocal in his criticism of xenophobes, transphobes, and those, in general, who would place themselves above others by means of wealth or status - because he has been one of those people at one point in his life. He hasn't discussed the details of it, nor what led to his Heel Realization, but it's very clear that he wants to prevent others from suffering what he doled out once upon a time.
- Perverse Sexual Lust: The Akali rework in League of Legends gets him, shall we say, a bit flustered.
- Reality Subtext: Invoked in his reading of Micolash, Host of the Nightmare. Skyen sees Micolash as the extreme case of those Yharnamites who party it up while the world is going to hell. He leads the school of Mensis, who committed unspeakable atrocities, but Micolash himself is simply sitting around in his little dreamworld, having intellectual discussions about higher planes of being, while the world (and specifically the lower classes) is going to hell outside. Not his problem, he's too preoccupied with "important" things. Skyen specifically compares it to building a rocket to Mars during a pandemic, which is exactly what Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, two of the world's richest men, were doing when the episode was released in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Running Gag:
Those are all vampires. Not just because they drink blood, but because they are members of the upper class and therefore parasites.
- While cursing in streams and unedited videos is not censored, swear words in edited footage is always censored with sounds from the Super Mario Bros. series, including but not limited to sound and voice clips from Yoshi, Chain Chomps, Luigi, Waluigi, and the titular Mario, as well as various sound effects include 1-Ups and coin pickups. If he gets stressed or frustrated and swears a lot, this results in long strings of continuous interruption from his pool of Mario-related sound effects and voice bits in his effort to censor his language.
- From his Let's Play of the Dark Souls series of games:
Skyen: ALL YOUR WAIFUS ARE TRASH! [zweihander]
- Every death is highlighted with a ding sound and a popup displaying artwork of the Elite Knight set with a lab coat and a clipboard◊ with Git Gud written on it. Every death is also tracked on this "Git Gud" counter.
- In Hollow Knight, this carries on, except the Elite Knight is replaced with Hornet, and the sound effect is replaced with her voiceline that sounds like "Git gud!"
- Ladders must be accompanied by his cover of the music from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater at all costs, including cutting rapidly to and from it if multiple ladders are climbed or descended in quick succession note
- The festering pit of Abyssal corruption that is Oolacile Township has mutated the townsfolk into that most horrible of things...weebs!
- The Alonne Knights in the Iron Keep of Dark Souls II are also characterized as weebs as soon as the first one came at him wielding a katana, giving them all captions of stereotypical anime otaku arguments (e.g "sword art online is totally underrated!") and random Gratuitous Japanese (e.g "undead-chan sugoi!"). Of course, there are so many Alonne Knights packed into the first half of the Iron Keep that eventually he had to stop it because it was just too much work.
- And when he eventually runs into Sir Alonne himself, the boss is immediately dubbed the "Ultra Weeb."
- Whenever he misses an obvious doorway, illusory wall, ladder, or the like, or else finds himself lost and wandering aimlessly for a long time, he inserts a "Perception Check Failed" caption over the relevant moment.
- Every single Rupturing Hollow in Dark Souls II (or, as he calls them, Explodey Boys) has a ":D" edited over their heads when he encounters them that changes to a "D:" when they're killed. Which means that when there's multiple attacking him at once, the screen becomes cluttered with ":D" and "D:" as necessary.
- During his Let's Play of Hollow Knight, every appearance by Hornet earned a cry of "PRETTY LADY!" delivered in a Jerry Lewis voice.
- "Where are her organs?!"
- Skyen frequently jokes about having Communist leanings.
[photo of Karl Marx overlaid on the video]
- Screaming at Squick: When TB doesn't like what's going on, particularly while streaming, he can get...loud.
- Upon switching to less defensive armour in Dark Souls, he comments that he's not sure how he'll cope with no longer being the chonkiest boy on Earth and having to do defensive rolls like some kind of good player.
- He also mentions that he likes playing Braum in League of Legends because a playstyle that relies upon utterly failing to evade enemy skillshots suits him down to the ground.
- After baffling everyone by defeating the Fume Knight, universally considered the most difficult boss in the game, on his second try in Dark Souls II, rather than extol his growing skills at the game, he immediately justifies his success by declaring that he only won due to total luck. He afterwards uses a Bonfire Ascetic to respawn the Fume Knight and battle him with stream viewers, and is unable to defeat the boss for almost an hour, appearing to prove him right (although admittedly he did only barely beat Fume Knight the first time around, and using a Bonfire Ascetic upgrades it to NG+ Fume Knight, so this isn't surprising).Skyen (when asked how he succeeded on his second try): Luck. Sheer luck. Absolute bare-naked luck, I promise you.''
- Standard Snippet: The Anor Londo death montage in the Ornstein and Smough episode is set to the William Tell Overture. It happens again during the epic ordeal he went through trying to beat Lugwig in Bloodborne.
- Take That!:
- At one point he compares the toxic baby skeletons in Dark Souls to a whole gang of League of Legends players.
- "The Many Meanings of Dark Souls" discusses an Objectivist reading, accompanied by comedic music and snarky summaries of Objectivist talking points.Skyen: It is possible to construct an Objectivist reading of Dark Souls, although...why would you want to.
OBJECTIVISM: never care about anything you can't either f*** or exploit for money
- While studying the Ring of Blades in Dark Souls II and encountering the line "They were founded by the same man, but were reduced to rivalry and spite," he cracks, "Kind of like Brexit."
- During the Boss Designs of Dark Souls II: The Duke's Dear Freja, he uses the self-destructive greed of Duke Tseldora and the insatiable hunger of Freja to draw parallels to industrialization and capitalism.Skyen: [The Duke's Dear Freja is] a poisonous, disgusting, two-faced parasite only concerned with consuming, with growing, with accumulating only to itself that which once belonged to others. In the world of Drangleic, the disease that consumed Tseldora is named the Writhing Ruin. But in our world...we recognize it by the name of capitalism.Cuts to a picture of Karl Marx, the ending quote of The Communist Manifesto, and an instrumental version of the Soviet Anthem.
- In the Hot Take video on Swain, Skyen comments that the design is mostly just Lucius Malfoy, which he approves of because TERFsnote shouldn't have nice things.
- Trade Snark: Captions one of his remarks as "Fromsoft needs to be thrown in prison for Crimes(TM)."
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Skyen has a couple phobias that come up.
- He hates spiders. Brightstone Cove Tseldora was traumatising for him. The Nightmare of Mensis was almost as bad.
- He has mild Thalassophobia (fear of deep water and the creatures therein) and similarily mild Trypophobia (fear of small holes clustered together). The former comes up when fighting Hydrus and the later when fighting both Amygdala and Rom.
- World of Symbolism: Occasionally his Dark Souls videos can begin to drift into this.
- Wrong for the Right Reasons: Skyen, after facing the Last Giant, concludes that he has gone hollow, and takes this into his reading of Dark Souls II as being about identity, with the giant representing a loss of identity. Good reasoning, since the last giant attacks on sight like every hollow in the game, but he had no way of knowing that the Last Giant's beef with the player is more personal.