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Webcomic / Fisheye Placebo

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From left to right: Robin, Vance, and Frey.

"Through the distorted lens I found a cure."

Fisheye Placebo is a webcomic on DeviantArt by Yuumei. In the fictional country of Central Eastern Republic ("CERia"), a young man named Vance Lee decides that he's been missing out on something. Something that porn simply can't replace. A girlfriend, to be more specific. And what better way to get a hot girl than to hack into his university and assign himself one for a roommate? According to Vance, apparently none. Little does he know though, that this little "harmless" action would end up changing his life forever. He never does end up getting that hot roommate and instead, gets roped into some crazy conspiracy to overthrow the totalitarian regime that their country is under rule of; courtesy of his most-definitely-not female roommate.

Fisheye Placebo demonstrates examples of the following tropes:

  • Alice Allusion: Jen's moniker as the nighttime rebel graffiti artist is the Cheshire Cat and Frey's online pseudonym is Alice. You could also view Vance hacking into the dorm system to be Robin's roommate as him going Down the Rabbit Hole.
  • All Men Are Perverts:
    • What convinces Vance to stay in his crappy dorm room? Seeing a bra on the floor.
    • An agent of the Solar Eye Division had Robin's camera plugged into the mainframe because he found porn on it. This is what allowed Frey to hack it.
  • Alternate Universe: Though whatever's going on outside of the Central Eastern Republic is unknown, there are Shout Outs to other media, such as the Cheshire Cat, Red Cow, Berkeley University, V, Pokémon, and Bob Ross. Mr. Lee is also said to have grown up in China during the '60's.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Alex, Vance's younger sister.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Vance, being a fan of anime/manga and memes, as well as a masterful hacker and computer science major, to boot.
  • Batman Gambit: Robin, while in disguise, takes pictures of security knowing that her camera will be confiscated and plugged into the Solar Eye Division computer mainframe.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: The Solar Eye Division.
  • Bifauxnen: Robin, when in disguise.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • "Red Cow". It even has its own line of "energy cereal" - tagged as "quality seizures in a box," no less.
    • Twatter, Instaspam, Dumbler, and Faceshook are the comic's social media websites.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Allie can be seen in Chapter 0 Intro, Allie is seen protesting in one of the crowd shots.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Another name for the Solar Eye Division is the Bureau of Information Technology and Civil Harmony. Also known as the B.I.T.C.H.
  • Gag Censor: In Chapter 0 Part 8, Vance's buttocks are censored, courtesy of the Solar Eye Division.
  • G.I.R.L.: Played with in Chapter 0 Part 3: Frey jumps onto Robin's account and pretends to be her when chatting with Vance, who understandably thinks he's Robin.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Vance seems quite fond of Robin.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Averted. The "guiding a 3D version of yourself through a fiery maze" bit is strictly symbolism, and not what is actually happening to the characters.
  • How We Got Here: The story starts off with a short snippet of what happens much later. The rest is in chronological order to lead up to that event.
  • Large Ham: Vance, especially during his speech about taking fate into his own hands.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Alex's username on her social media accounts is BokuNoPlacebo, one half of a reference to the comic's title.
    • At the beginning of Chapter 2, Alex's post about the whited-out graffiti gets flagged by Dumblr and her edit sarcastically thanks the website for its wonderful sensitivity filter. This happened around the time the flagging system was first implemented in Tumblr (due to changes in European Union laws), which was met with backlash for being faulty to a point of possible censorship.
  • Naked First Impression: Frey and Vance first interact when the latter was out of the shower and only wearing a towel. Naturally, the towel falls off immediately afterward.
  • No Sympathy: Mr. Lee, having grown up in poverty himself without anyone helping him, lectures Vance and Alex about not helping the homeless children begging for help in Chapter 0 Part 7, saying that if he can pick himself up, so can they. He also warns them that they might use their sympathy to attack them while their guard is down and rob them of their stuff, which he might've been right about since one of them was concealing a knife. Whether or not this was the right thing to do is YMMV, but it provides a powerful and depressing example of classism that Vance and Alex are shaken up by.
  • Playful Hacker: Vance.
  • Police Brutality:
    • In the prologue to Chapter 0, we see a protest turn violent. It's a wake-up call for Vance.
    • In the backstory, Nadezha was arrested for participating in a student protest (and a failed revolution) and hasn't been seen since.
    • In Chapter 1 Part 8, an officer beats up a woman for taking a photo of him on her phone while she calls him a Dirty Coward.
  • Post Cyber Punk
  • Properly Paranoid: One reason why Mr. Lee doesn't want to help the homeless children begging at their car is because they might rob them while their guard is down. He's right; the eldest girl is carrying a concealed knife, which she pulls out as the car speeds away in the next panel, although whether it was because she wanted to do exactly what Mr. Lee feared or she just pulled it out in a panic when she realized they were speeding away is deliberately left ambiguous.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    Security Worker: "DON'T. GET. IN. THE. WAY. Of a man's need."
  • The Quisling: As seen on some social media comments at the beginning of Chapter 2, some people (possibly trolls or people being sarcastic, if not this trope) like SarahDallas kiss up to the country's authoritarian regime and claim that it's a wonderful thing.
  • Running Gag: The influence and power of Red Cow.
  • Shout-Out: Oh so many. It now has its own page.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Robin.
  • Street Urchin: The Lees encounter some while driving Vance to his dorm.
  • Take That!: Tumblr's Bland-Name Product? Dumblr.
  • Word Salad Title: At first glance, the title seems to be nothing but nonsense, but it has a meaning. As yuumei explains, "Fisheye" is a type of lens that distorts the camera shot to create a wide angle view and "Placebo" is a false cure given to a patient to trick them into believing they actually took a cure. Essentially, the title means "Through the distorted lens, I found a cure."
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Alex, considering BL to be "the purest form of love".