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[1503] You two

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Re: [1503] You two

Post by Ningen » Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:52 pm

I predict a scene change.
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Re: [1503] You two

Post by Invisigoth » Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:10 pm

iffy is dead wrong here. If Piro said, "come join us" Megu would be in the shower before he could get the door closed.

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Re: [1503] You two

Post by Liminaut » Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:18 pm

I'm trying to figure out why Piro is cock-blocking himself so hard.

When Megu first talks about a love hotel, he insists it's not right unless he pays, which he can't. Then he tries to talk Megu out of doing it all together. On the surface, this is ridiculous. At worst, he's going to get a few hours to talk with Kimiko. That's something he's been saying he's been desperately wanting to do. The odds are if Piro lets it he's going to get a lot more than talk :-)

Piro seems to have this idea that a relationship is no good unless it is perfect, and part of perfect means that he has to do everything himself. The boy has been playing way too many dating sims. As Seraphim said, he's not the only one that gets to make the decisions. He's not the only one that gets to do the work. It's only in games that one player is responsible for everything.

It seems Piro is just as reality-crippled as Largo. Largo has a real problem telling reality from first person shooters, and Piro can't tell the difference between reality and dating sims.

Has Piro ever had a girlfriend? Because I can't imagine his approach working with anybody.

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Re: [1503] You two

Post by GreyWolfe » Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:50 pm

Liminaut wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:18 pm
I'm trying to figure out why Piro is cock-blocking himself so hard.
Because Fred hates him (for reasons) and refuses to allow good things to happen to him.
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Re: [1503] You two

Post by Sackett » Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:56 am

Liminaut wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:18 pm
Has Piro ever had a girlfriend? Because I can't imagine his approach working with anybody.
Miho.

A long distance relationship with an ancient girl cursed to endlessly replay her death, and doomed to never love again...

So basically it worked with a girl who had every reason to believe it was a "safe" relationship that would never develop into anything real, (and Piro's "do nothing unless it's perfect" slowness probably increased the feeling of being safe), and when she started to get emotionally attached she panicked and broke up with him using the old "I'm really a guy" nuclear bomb excuse.

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Re: [1503] You two

Post by cidjen » Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:09 pm

Sackett wrote:
Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:56 am
Liminaut wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:18 pm
Has Piro ever had a girlfriend? Because I can't imagine his approach working with anybody.
Miho.

A long distance relationship with an ancient girl cursed to endlessly replay her death, and doomed to never love again...

So basically it worked with a girl who had every reason to believe it was a "safe" relationship that would never develop into anything real, (and Piro's "do nothing unless it's perfect" slowness probably increased the feeling of being safe), and when she started to get emotionally attached she panicked and broke up with him using the old "I'm really a guy" nuclear bomb excuse.
In chapter 2 and 3 Miho (before she's revealed to be the 'nemesis' character of m0h) is portrayed rather vile...
I mean, even in the second Anna Miller Coffee Breakdown... she's witnessing Kimi and Piro go all soft on each other, and this seems to give her strength to not die in the street, which it looked like was gonna happen, just before Ping gathered her to go there.
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Re: [1503] You two

Post by cidjen » Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:15 pm

GreyWolfe wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:50 pm
Liminaut wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:18 pm
I'm trying to figure out why Piro is cock-blocking himself so hard.
Because Fred hates him (for reasons) and refuses to allow good things to happen to him.
Did I read right somewhere in another thread, that we're all gonna not like Piro very much when the story ends?
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Re: [1503] You two

Post by paarfi » Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:28 pm

cidjen wrote:
Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:15 pm
GreyWolfe wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:50 pm
Because Fred hates him (for reasons) and refuses to allow good things to happen to him.
Did I read right somewhere in another thread, that we're all gonna not like Piro very much when the story ends?
Yeah, but I sigh deeply every time somebody brings it up. Fred much prefers writing the girls of MT and he grumbles every time he has to do the guys, including making statements like that. I don't know why that particular grumble caught peoples' memory. Fred's story plans are constantly evolving as new ideas come up and as he realizes that "character X wouldn't do that". To think that he had things all planned out years ago when he said that and that he's determined to stick to it is, well, just not realistic.

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Re: [1503] You two

Post by Sareth » Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:39 pm

This whole thing is just cracking me up, but the best part (in my not so honest and, in fact, rather lurid opinion) is Kimiko's matter of fact picking a room that looks fun. Piro's freaked, Megu seems pretty irritated about the mess, but Kimiko is completely "just another day at a love hotel with the boy toy". Of course, Erika did reveal that Kumiko is NOT one to get all flustered and reluctant about love hotels and sexing up the boyfriend, so she might be as casual about this as she seems. "I did good earlier, now I'm going to reward myself with a good swivening."
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Re: [1503] You two

Post by cidjen » Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:01 pm

paarfi wrote:
Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:28 pm
cidjen wrote:
Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:15 pm
GreyWolfe wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:50 pm
Because Fred hates him (for reasons) and refuses to allow good things to happen to him.
Did I read right somewhere in another thread, that we're all gonna not like Piro very much when the story ends?
Yeah, but I sigh deeply every time somebody brings it up. Fred much prefers writing the girls of MT and he grumbles every time he has to do the guys, including making statements like that. I don't know why that particular grumble caught peoples' memory. Fred's story plans are constantly evolving as new ideas come up and as he realizes that "character X wouldn't do that". To think that he had things all planned out years ago when he said that and that he's determined to stick to it is, well, just not realistic.
Ah so it's the Artist Mind I get it now ;)
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Thanks! it's been long overdue for me to give in to my inner otaku ;J
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Re: [1503] You two

Post by cidjen » Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:21 pm

well let me expand to what I've been thinking of why the 'we won't like Piro when this story is done' seems to fit somewhere...

- at the start, before chapter 4, Miho is undeniably portrayed as a villain (not just because Largo thinks so), leeching and living on emotions of others (the hurt ones seem to work best, but as she states later, it twists her)
- Piro kept saying Pirogoeth and M0h was just in game, but then we learn how it went deeper beyond the game
- he was (understandably) angry with Miho for the Endgames stunt and how that (he thought) ended, but that anger seems to be over when he learns of what the horde is (repeatedly) doing to her; not that he takes pity on her, but he sees it from another perspective
- she was then stunned to have learned that Pirogoeth was pregnant (sensing woman's touch on this part of the story ;) ) and begans to see Piro differently than she thought of him before
- then after Kimiko hears from Miho, that Miho thinks she killed Piro, Kimiko almost kills Miho (ok so it's the heart condition and she doesn't really mean it, but this fits in a subconscious reaction to 'I believe I just had your biggest-fan-and-boyfriend killed' before the loss detection circuits kick in)
- then Kimiko plays 'dead Miho' for Piro, so the horde goes away, while Miho exits the scene to be given a pause
- Piro seems uncomfortable to have to lay low in the love hotel with just him and Kimiko to talk about it (sensing a difficult 'did you really mean that' scene coming) hence his callout to Megumi in this comic;
- Miho with her heart medically fixed, could now be rebuilding her life; maybe she won't need to feed and leech on hurt feelings any more to keep her heart from failing;
- Piro might be forced to choose then; but this being a twisted fantasy, he could choose to not play the game (again) with any of them... play damned indecision, leaving all 3 in the sad, because 'how do you expect me to choose between you two...'. Or, he will choose to actually delete his character from the game this time, leaving both Miho and Kimiko in the sad.
- I don't know what the happy ending to that can be. Other than hope that this emotions game, is not a zero-sum (that the winner takes all and looser(s) are left with nothing) not just black-and-white but different shades of different colours...
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Re: [1503] You two

Post by paarfi » Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:48 pm

Miho's motivations can be tricky. Yeah technically she started as the hidden agenda villain, but I think Fred has tied the story back into the earlier stuff well enough that it's all right to say that she has always been more than that. Madbadger was a former forum dweller here, and he wrote a couple of blog posts on Miho that I highly recommend to anyone looking to understand her. They're 5 years old now, but I think they still hold up very well:
http://docfuture.tumblr.com/post/300674 ... otivations
http://docfuture.tumblr.com/post/306496 ... and-future
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Re: [1503] You two

Post by Yl33 D4 N00b » Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:37 pm

"Swivening". Hey, I learned a new word! :D
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Re: [1503] You two

Post by kendermouse » Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:41 am

Sareth wrote:
Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:39 pm
This whole thing is just cracking me up, but the best part (in my not so honest and, in fact, rather lurid opinion) is Kimiko's matter of fact picking a room that looks fun. Piro's freaked, Megu seems pretty irritated about the mess, but Kimiko is completely "just another day at a love hotel with the boy toy". Of course, Erika did reveal that Kumiko is NOT one to get all flustered and reluctant about love hotels and sexing up the boyfriend, so she might be as casual about this as she seems. "I did good earlier, now I'm going to reward myself with a good swivening."
You're right, of course, it could very well be that Kimiko just figures she deserves some fun time with the boyfriend. Unfortunately, said boyfriend's brain appears to have just broken, so... *shrug*

Also, love that use of 'swivening'. Talk dirty to us all, you sexy language nerd-beast. XD
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Re: [1503] You two

Post by Rapierman » Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:08 pm

....and here I thought that Piro was suffering from social awkwardness. Silly me.
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Re: [1503] You two

Post by cidjen » Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:28 pm

paarfi wrote:
Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:48 pm
Miho's motivations can be tricky. Yeah technically she started as the hidden agenda villain, but I think Fred has tied the story back into the earlier stuff well enough that it's all right to say that she has always been more than that. Madbadger was a former forum dweller here, and he wrote a couple of blog posts on Miho that I highly recommend to anyone looking to understand her. They're 5 years old now, but I think they still hold up very well:
http://docfuture.tumblr.com/post/300674 ... otivations
http://docfuture.tumblr.com/post/306496 ... and-future
Thanks for posting these.

I enjoyed reading them, so much detail he brings out, esp. of the Pirogoeth x M0h relationship, I can't believe I missed that much :) really entertaining read.

But I am not sure about certain parts - like when MB implies that Piro tries to whitewash himself to Kimiko... I did not think about that before :) I always took this conversation (in 'afk' chapter, when they 'work on the portfolio') by 'face falue' on his part. He just doesn't look to me as a kind of guy who would so blatantly lie to his new girlfriend about his former relationship... his face is so innocent :) It sort of spoils my little fantasy of him for me... I don't want to think of him that way ... and neither, seems to me, does Kimiko. Why else and what for would she come up with her own plan to 'save' Miho ?

But if what MB wrote is true... well it is an interesting angle of speculation on what can we expect to happen next. And if he did actually lie and whitewash himself to score better, and it is called out in his face, then anything that any girl (including Miho) who actually likes him right now, happens to do to him due to that, will serve him damn right. His fate will be sealed, his character will be broken, go into coma, put on hospital bed, then his ass shipped back to the USA together with the bed, with financial help and blessing of the New Idol Kimiko and Miho themselves.

Who will then spawn (Kimiko without even knowing, will channel her feelings to 'create' her version, while Miho will use her magical powers to channel hers) their own little fantasies of Piro to make themselves feel better / play revenge on them again and again, just will have to agree to have their separate versions of Piro never meet each other somehow ;)

I am revisiting this 'a.f.k' chapter for umpteenth time ;) hello server time, hope you team don't mind ;) and I still don't (want to) see it that way :)

(edit: i am done ninjaediting now)
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Re: [1503] You two

Post by paarfi » Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:02 am

cidjen wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:28 pm
But I am not sure about certain parts - like when MB implies that Piro tries to whitewash himself to Kimiko... I did not think about that before :) I always took this conversation (in 'afk' chapter, when they 'work on the portfolio') by 'face falue' on his part. He just doesn't look to me as a kind of guy who would so blatantly lie to his new girlfriend about his former relationship.
Well, I think it's more embarrassment, and continuing confusion and hurt over how it ended, than trying to white-wash things or make himself look better in front of Kimiko. Kimiko is someone he likes and trusts, and he's being more honest and open with her here than with anyone since Miho. But it's hard to commit to that all at once. I don't doubt that Kimiko sees right through him anyway though.

But then one of the great things about MT is how it inspires discussion like that. Fred rarely spells things out right away, and it's a lot of fun trying to figure things out.
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Re: [1503] You two

Post by Sareth » Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:20 am

cidjen wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:28 pm

<snip>
I am not sure about certain parts - like when MB implies that Piro tries to whitewash himself to Kimiko... I did not think about that before :) I always took this conversation (in 'afk' chapter, when they 'work on the portfolio') by 'face falue' on his part. He just doesn't look to me as a kind of guy who would so blatantly lie to his new girlfriend about his former relationship... his face is so innocent :) It sort of spoils my little fantasy of him for me... I don't want to think of him that way ... and neither, seems to me, does Kimiko. Why else and what for would she come up with her own plan to 'save' Miho ?
I'll try to answer to the best of my ability here. As background, like Piro, I have engaged in seriously heavy MMORPGs (going back as far as the late 1990s and in more recent times Archeage (and I invariably play as female). It is strongly implied by many of Piro's comments about her that Piro strongly valued Pirogoeth as a person, not just as an interface for hack-n-slash, so in addition to the in game emotion stats that made characters care about one another, Piro also RPed pretty heavily, just as I have done (and wish I was currently doing.)

I have been in Piro's shoes in many ways. I have gotten into romantic and even sexual relationships within these worlds. And I have gotten hurt badly.

Piro's lie wasn't an attempt to score with Kimiko. It was, in fact, completely independent of her. It was all about his own view of his role in this event. He was the victim, and victims have no guilt. Anything that implies guilt, therefor, wasn't that important, and might not even have happened. Even if we know better.

We as people have an amazing capacity of believing things about ourselves even when we know they are not true. Piro clearly believed he was the victim here, and even when knowing that "nothing much" (probably) did include sexual RP (and maybe meat monkey to meat monkey sexting completely independent of Endgames, M0h, and Pirogoeth) he was the VICTIM. What she did to him with "his" deception and jerk move totally negates any importance that might have previously have been held by his own (sexual) antics (in relationship to a girl that, two years later, is still in school *COUGH*). He was deceived, and that means any "guilty" things he did weren't his fault, they were hers. He can earnestly believe that and say "nothing much" with a straight face because his victim status actually overrides any sense of guilt because "Mr. Miho" did it.

(We can, if you wish, get into a general discussion of the ethics and all regarding all of this if you like. Interestingly, I specialized in Internet/online socialization and communication for marginalized groups when working on a Masters, and even wrote a substantial paper involving sexual relationships in virtual worlds... I just think that should be done elsewhere (another thread in general or PMs?) as it would be a substantial tangent away from discussing this specific situation.)

As for Kimiko, she did what she did for several reasons, I think. One is that his own conviction of his innocence sells it, even if she knows better. She's no idiot. She can read behind the lines. But because his (warped) thinking has him convinced nothing major happened, then she can accept it as such. Further, her own past has gotten sordid at times (Erika HAS drug her out of love hotels before, AND comments that Kimiko does NOT go easy on men during sex). If Piro wants to gloss over his previous (e)sex life, then she gets to do that as well, and they can both move forward without past deads hanging over them like a Sword of Damocles. Lastly, she's a homeless freaking romantic, and those sorts will attempt to help redeem the Miho's of the world. Even if that means, ultimately, sacrificing her own relationship with Piro so that Miho can be happy (with him) in the long run.

F**king martyr...

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Re: [1503] You two

Post by HakuRyoku » Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:01 pm

an ethics of Megatokyo thread.... that sounds interesting as heck Sareth, I'd be down. and I think you're going for 'hopeless' freaking romantic not homeless.

anyway, my two cents for Piro's actions regarding his telling of Endgames to Kimiko, maybe he isn't lying... not to Kimiko at least. Perhaps he is just lying to himself in saying the relationship was 'nothing much'. If the relationship was really nothing, then I doubt the argument they (Piro and Miho) had in the loft would have happened the way it did, nor would Piro have been trying to franticly to save her when Kimiko stopped her heart. he cares about Miho, more than I think he even lets himself admit.
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Re: [1503] You two

Post by cidjen » Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:45 pm

I don't really mind keeping the discussion to the strip threads, maybe somehow with follow-up links to next thread on a strip that happens to touch the same topic. Makes for a cool timeline of expanding knowledge, as more information is revealed. Ethics is a great topic... but there is only so much ethics one can fit into a post.

Piro's perceived innocence is working pretty well (on me anyway), even after I read MB's blog posts :)

The 'fight' he has with Miho up above the shop before they sneak away to the bathhouse - well that gave me food for thought.

There are signs of her stopping being her former cynical self, even a little before that. Maybe she doesn't want to be the villain of the story any more.

Kimiko still doesn't know of the 'little polygon bump', that by now would be a pretty grown child, or a character of its own right...

(OT : I read recently where Piro's nick comes from... one way to translate 'pirozki' is 'dumplings'. Git it ? DUMPlings... i'm sure someone pointed this before, but it is a telling name if anything... )

I actually had a couple of thoughts... what if Moeko, the magical girl in a coma, is the soul behind Seraphim ? And her 'evil sister' is the soul of Miho... which would make Miho, if not the evil twin of Moeko, then at least the 'mirrored reflection' of her...
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Re: [1503] You two

Post by Sareth » Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:39 am

cidjen: It's an interesting theory that I don't feel I can quite comment on as I haven't thought through the rammifications or evidence. I will pointed out that in many discussions I've had Miho is accepted as a Dark Magical Girl (and is classified on TV Tropes as one.

On to ethics, however, as two of you have responded positively. I'm going to focus specifically on the pre-MT relationship between Piro(goeth) and Miho(M0h) here. I'll try not to get too wordy about it, and cite things as best I can, but you might want to put on some extra padding, cause this is going to be a word wall I'm dropping on you. (And 1500 pages of comic to extract data from. This may take a bit. It's a good thing I loathe New Years...)

So lets start from this point: How did things start? To begin with, let's look at Miho. Because of the important role Largo had within the story we can surmise one of two things. Largo's lack of Japanese language skills tells us a lot about Endgames that are quite relevant to Miho here. We can conclude that Miho was choosing to play a game with a primarily English speaking audience. Largo would most likely not have been as successful in the game if it was primarily Japanese. Further, given that Piro recounts that Miho was destroying THE GAME, and not just his server, we can also surmise this game was small enough and intimate enough to not have, or need, multiple servers.

So what does that tell us about Miho?

There are plenty of games in Japan she could have been choosing to play. But she deliberately chose to engage in, and exploit, a game that had little to no presence in Japan, and even had a quite intimidating language barrier for most native Japanese speakers. She was deliberately attempting to create distance for herself. No one who could get to her in the physical world would ever know to try to find her, and anyone who did get to know her in the virtual world had no realistic chance of being able to track her down in the flesh. To my mind, that meant she was very deliberately attempting to carefully control and divide her selves. She was tired of being the sick, dying girl, and never wanted anyone to realize that was who she was in meatspace. M0h was her chance to get away from that and be something male, powerful, strong, and dangerous, (even godlike, as her game was to, essentially, be the cruel, evil deity that was destroying everything around her as a direct reflection of her having lived a century or so as the one being repeatedly destroyed by the world around her.) and everyone who could ever possibly "know" her in Endgames would never get to know otherwise.

Piro managed to successfully blow that to hell and back.

But that gets us into the first bit of ethics. If Miho did not want to be found, but only to be M0h, then how did Piro find her anyway? Well, he told us himself. He grabbed contact info from a forum he was a moderator of.

Now, given the lengths she had gone to to hide herself and keep this world and that separate, it is unlikely she just casually made her contact info public on the site. Many sites allow you to hide that sort of stuff and only make it accessible to moderators for verification purposes. Now maybe she made a mistake and forgot to hide that info. But with Piro as a moderator there is plenty of room to wonder. Especially given his next confession. He hounded "him" for a week.

Now, at this point Piro still thinks he is dealing with a male, and society is less judgmental of repeated attempts to get someone's attention when they are NOT responding back. Despite this, if we take all gender and sex out of the consideration, Piro basically hounded someone who was trying to avoid blurring the lines between meatspace and the virtual world using information he may not have had a legitimate right to in the first place. And Miho, after a week, and likely in a moment of physical and mental weakness, gave in because (and take it from someone who would know), sometimes when you're hurting you are desperate for anything that can shift your focus away for a moment.

So there's an interesting point of ethical thought. Piro did that out of worry and concern for a fellow player. He was simply trying to reach out and see if that player was okay, and be reassuring. But he did so in a way that has a lot of questionable methodology, even to potentially stalkerish levels.

Once he'd breached those defenses, though, it seemed like a good thing. By making it in, he was now someone she could turn to and talk to, and get it all off her chest, without being the smothering presence of those she was fleeing to Endgames to get away from. She can talk to him without feeling pressured, judged, or any of the things she was running from.

But I need to divert briefly to remind you of something here. All of this is what Piro is TELLING us. We aren't seeing the story through an omnipresent, impartial narrator. We are seeing what Piro is willing to share with us, through his own self-perspective. In fact, the entire comic, from panel 1, to know, never shows us a single thing from the perspective of an omnipresent impartial narrator. [URL="https://megatokyo.com/strip/132",]Fred even warned of this early on,[/URL] (though in joking fashion). So we have moved perpetually from one person's perspective of the world, to the next, to the next, and never gotten to actually see Tokyo for ourselves. We can trust NOTHING to be an unbiased truth in this series. (Which is part of what intrigues us.)

So when Piro is making himself out to be a selfless hero who nobly made the choice to risk being called out for abusing his power just to see if someone was alright, and who became the shoulder that person could cry on, is that the unvarnished truth? Or is he giving us the sanitized version he wants to believe about himself?

Moving on. When, in the story, we get to the point of Miho cutting her hair, Piro lets something slip. He's already said at this point that he has come to suspect Miho was a girl. So when she mentioned the nurses were mad about the hair, he asked for a photo. Why? To confirm his suspicions. Which he confesses to Kimiko.

"So she showed you that she was a girl. Which she knew is what you were really asking about."

"Yeah. Something like that."

Now this gets into yet another interesting area of virtual worlds and relationships. Something that has particularly fascinated me about the use of online communication and marginalized groups is the performance of sex and gender. (Warning, this next bit gets a bit technical and jargony). In the absence of a physical body we find ourselves faced with a quandry that we normally haven't experienced in the physical world (with certain noteworthy exceptions). We're not "sure" who we are talking to. Is that a boy? A girl? I've seen a LOT of dysphoric "kneejerk" reactions to this situation from people in virtual worlds, and even been on the receiving end of them in interesting ways.

Generally I've seen three reactions from people:

1: What you see is what you get. If you are in a virtual space and someone has a female avatar and female name, then you are dealing with a girl. (Yes, girls exist on the Internet).

2: What you see is potentially a trap because someone is deliberately trying to fool you for their amusement and your humiliation. If you are in a virtual space and someone has a female avatar and name, you need to plumb the depths and test and protect yourself because people are out to abuse you. Test. Everything.

3: What you see is all that matters. The person behind the keyboard does not matter. They didn't come here to be the meat monkey. They came here to be the person you see before you, and that's good enough.

Now in this case we have an interesting situation. Piro (a bio-male, but with certain traditionally feminine behavioral patterns) plays girls online. So that would make you think that he's definitely a #3 type. After all, he would get it. And nothing he's ever done implies he is the reason #2s exist. He's never struck us as the sort that plays girls because he wants to make a fool of anyone (or because "if I'm going to be stuck staring at a butt it might as well be a cute butt").

And yet, when he got the chance, he seized it to confirm that the male M0h was played by a physical world girl. He pulled a #2 despite being, himself, a G.I.R.L. (Guy In Real Life).

Given the way their characters were already interacting thanks to the emotion stats, was it just an attempt to better get to know someone he was coming to know separate from those characters? Or was he starting to have concerns that he himself was developing feelings for someone presenting as a male and OMG gay!!!?

Yes, this happens.

Again, I have been involved in RP as a female in a romantic and even sexual relationship in virtual worlds. It often can lead to some very powerful and real emotions for the meat monkey behind the electronic sexy avatar. As long as NOTHING of the real world has bled through many of us can contain this, just like Miho was attempting originally. But if that boundary has become fluid, and you are getting glimpses of the meat behind the pixels, how much of what is in world begins leaking out into meatspace? It becomes complicated. And I have seen people get hurt for real because of things involved with their characters leaking out into this world. And it's shocking how often it's because of something like "Wait. You're a GUY?"

Piro has confessed just how powerfully he relates to his characters. So when the emotional stats said that Pirogoeth was falling for M0h, how much of that was really the stats, and how much was Piro empathizing with, or even projecting through his avatar? Piro admits to the truth towards the end of the story. "She (Miho) was a made up character and I had fallen for her like a sad loser." He didn't say Pirogoeth had fallen for M0h. That would be She and Him. No, he specifically pointed out "I" had fallen for HER.

The romance divide between meat space and virtual world had shredded into so many ribbons. And (according to Piro), he, the player, had fallen in love with Miho, the player. Which can and does happen.

Which leads us to another interesting ethical consideration. In this case we do know that Piro was single, so we don't really need to examine "is it cheating if it is virtual" (and I won't, because I could rant and rave about a LOT there). But we do have one important and interesting point.

Piro had pictures of Miho. Okay, so what, right? He didn't have a photo of a girl with her hair cropped mercilessly short. He had "All those embarrassing photos" that must have come from "M0h" and not from his laptop no no never ever.

Piro had "embarrassing" photos of Miho. Not of M0h. of MIHO. And if anyone still thinks they might not have been as bad as all of these

There relationship had progressed to the point she was willing to send the sort of photos that cause shock embarrassment and shame if they get out in the public. A girl trying to completely separate her terrible real life from her virtual escape was sending real world nudes to someone from that virtual escape. That's a LOT of trust on her part.

And a potential legal problem for Piro.

Remember, this occurred at least two years ago (comic time) and Miho is STILL in high school at this point (in this incarnation.) And if anyone thinks she was faking the school thing, Junko recalls otherwise. Now, we could be charitable and say her heart condition caused her to be held back, and is, therefor, 20. But that would require she be held back at least two years, and thanks to Mr. Ibara we don't need to believe something that likely. He points out that now, not two years ago, now, Miho is still a minor.

So Piro, who was a college student at the time (if I recall correctly. I can't remember where the source of that was to look for it I do recall that his presumable age mate, Largo, failed out of college.) had what we can presume were fairly naked pictures of a Japanese Minor. One can argue that "well, he didn't know". But pictures of a 15-16 year old girl don't usually look like pictures of a fully developed legal girl.

Wow, Piro.

And then there are the chat logs. Chat logs that must have been "interesting" enough to cause Miho to flat out PANIC when she learns Yuki has read them (and were so lurid she covered Kobayashi's eyes while blushing.

Thanks to the virtual world, Piro has gone so deep down the "Dude, she was HOW OLD?" rabbit hole with a girl he had ample opportunity to get to know meatpuppet to meatpuppet without the virtual world intermediary that he has some pretty serious ethics questions hanging over his head.

Of course, now that I've basically blown Piro's innocent act out of the water, what about Miho?

Oh, this girl is an interesting bundle of considerations to unwrap.

On the face of it, it seems straight forward. I've already pointed out how she appears to have deliberately cut herself off when things began to get too strong in the physical world. She did so with Junko, at the very least (enough so for Junko to take advantage of Ping's literal photographic memory for some paybacks). More recently she appears to have done that with Ping as well, and possibly Yuki. She cuts people off HARD when she starts feeling herself connecting too strongly. So she dove into a virtual world and walled herself off from being knowable when she dove into Endgames. In fact, she even went so far as to try to make herself the most hated person in the game. I can surmise that this was, whether intentional or not, an effort to ensure no one there could get close to her at all.

Then Piro came along and managed to turn the tables on her.

What are her issues here? What did she do in the virtual that have the real world ethical considerations.

Well, if Piro had a good chance to figure out she was an underage girl sending lurid photos and engaging in virtual sexually explicit interactions (but might, MIGHT have been able to avoid actually confirming it to himself) she had NO such excuse. She knew exactly how old she was, and had a pretty good clue about what that might mean for the individual she was sending them to. This has influenced her view of Piro heavily. What do I mean? She specifically calls Yuki "your underaged fling" with a facial expression that says she BELIEVES what she is saying. She believes Piro WOULD have a sexual fling with a minor. Why? Because she's BEEN the underage fling. But it wasn't a fling to her. (More on that later.)

Of course, that leads to an interesting personal theory of mine. We know that Miho thought Piro was a girl while she was playing with Pirogoeth. In fact, she didn't figure it out until two years later, urlwhen he appeared in person. So think about that when you add up what I have previously said so far. She clearly had a deep enough relationship with Junko (a girl) for it to embitter the class president enough to use a classmate she is responsible for to get revenge. She was fascinated with Ping, and appears to be avoiding her desperately now that she realizes just how real a girl she is. And, most importantly, she had what the evidence strongly says is a very sexual connection with Piro WHO SHE THOUGHT WAS A GIRL.

My personal theory is that Miho spent a while deeply closeted, and LASHED OUT at anyone who put her in a position to question that. No, I don't mean she's a lesbian. But I think the case can be made that she is bi but is angry at herself about that fact, which has colored EVERY INTERACTION SHE HAS HAD WITH PIRO. Because she fell in love with a girl. Cut it off VIOLENTLY. Then realized she was a he. And now realizes she still is in love with him, failed to cut it off successfully, and gets confused by the fact she is in love with the guy she fell in love with as a girl. It hurts. Every. Single. Time. it forces her to confront her own sexuality.

ANYWAY!

So yes. We have the fact that Miho, regardless of the sex of Player Piro, was definitely in a relationship that could seriously compromise not just herself, but a legal adult. And she didn't put the breaks on it until she realized that it MEANT something for her. That, virtual or not, it was quite real.

But wait. Is it really a big ethical question in her case? Yes, she's an underage Japanese school girl in a cute fuku NOW. But she is much older than she looks. Her status as a tragic avatar people can fall in love with as a romantic ideal and mourn over has had her around since an age where an Irish girl spoke Gaelic and could fall in with pirates, and [url=""https://megatokyo.com/strip/1402"]LIVE A FULL LIFE[/url] Then watch the pirates she loved die because of her before she, herselfdied, and died, and died, and died only to come back again each time for the fanboys to get to enjoy again. So, at least from her perspective, was she really putting Piro in a bad position regarding legal age of consent in two different countries?

And now, all of those consequences are coming back to roost, all those ethically questionable decisions are coming back to haunt them. And they are learning that, "the feelings we have in games are real". And so is the hurt.

Go back and reread the story with all that in mind, and see what kind of story you see now in regards to the innocence of Piro, Miho, and yes, Kimiko as well (who KNOWS about sex in game environments, knows how REAL it is for people, and still accepts both Piro and Miho's past with calm.)
Maaaaaaan. Now I need to start winning posts again.

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Re: [1503] You two

Post by Invisigoth » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:42 am

Sareth, everything that you’ve said is dead on with one exception.

Miho is Irish

It would be later on that Piro discovers that she is in Japan presenting herself as a school girl. Ibari-san is presenting things as he perceives them

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Re: [1503] You two

Post by cidjen » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:10 am

Wow @Sareth, thanks... Very inspiring write-up. Reminds me of my early IRC days. The persona one creates for themselves online can be very different than RL. Nuff said.

I just wanted to point out you got Pirogeth X M0h other way round - it is Piro who plays Pirogoeth, who is so adept at working with the emotional stats, that Miho's character M0h, falls for her.

That doesn't change much in the rest of the logic however, as Miho actually uses this bond of their characters against Piro.

Of course there is also possibility, that Miho realized finally what is it that she was doing, and who Piro is, and out of the act of self preservation, goes nuclear on their relationship in such a way, that he'd be actually less damaged, than if they actually met and continued IRL. Her being the minor then and all, looks pretty good hearted, even like an act of ultimate love sacrifice, from this perspective.

I tell you it will be a sad Piro day when all this finally clicks in his brain.

This, or the OSE / unMod universe player Piroko, who IS A GIRL really sucks at playing his character in the Megatokyo universe...
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Re: [1503] You two

Post by Sareth » Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:48 am

Thanks for double checking me, Invisigoth. (But if you go back and look I did mention she's Irish, and even point out she speaks Gaelic.)

cidjen, I'm very aware of how an online persona can be quite different. In fact, if you wander into some areas online and find me, you'll find a very different person than I am here. It gets really complicated so I won't go into details, but I will say that I relate to Pirogoeth quite a bit. I'll even go further and point out that there are areas where gender doesn't even come into play and yet I am often thought to be a girl. (If I want to split hairs there's more truth to that than one might think). It's an interesting world out there.
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Re: [1503] You two

Post by NinjaDefenestrator » Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:33 am

One minor nitpick in your otherwise exceptional analysis: I think Miho was aware of Piro’s real gender by the time she blew up their relationship. She implies as much in the bathhouse when they’re getting undressed. https://megatokyo.com/strip/1319 “You never did send me any pictures of your-“ which suggests (at least to me) that there was frank discussion of both people’s genitalia, but Piro never actually sent her a dick pic. I don’t really understand how the two could have built such an intimate relationship without Piro ever revealing he was a dude.

The obvious argument against my suggestion is that way back in the beginning, Miho didn’t recognize Piro at first and seemed surprised he was male. However, note that Piro also didn’t recognize Miho as the girl he’d spent so much time drawing- he might have been under the impression that the person who dumped him was a guy, but how would he not recognize someone whose pictures he’d likely stared at for months?

This was before Fred had a lot of the story details worked out and the comic is seventeen years old, so it’s possible that the Piro/Miho relationship backstory has undergone some changes since then. It’s piqued my curiosity; could someone with more behind-the-scenes knowledge chime in here? Did Miho know Piro was a guy during their online relationship?

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