- This topic has 32 replies, 12 voices, and was last updated 3 years, 9 months ago by Mark Zschiegner II.
April 19, 2014 at 5:01 pm #4463MinaParticipant
I really like the decision to leave things vague.
Fiction around the world varies, and it is a very Western model to have closure that ties up all loose ends: everyone gets married, the evil guy is killed, blah blah blah. In your face, this is how this ended. A lot of Eastern cultures, however, thrive on an ambiguous model, one in which a lot of interpretation Is needed or encouraged. Subtle or metaphysical. This particular model is mostly recognized in countries that also recognize Buddhism, and as such can be found in places as varied as Sri Lanka and Japan.
And ah, Japan! Who on this website has Japan and Japanese storytelling not touched? Japan is what I’m emphasizing because it’s relevant and because it’s probably the most encountered (and also because it’s my area of study and where I lived forever, so). The fact is, Japanese storytelling is vague, which, ugh I’m about to use my degree here, I’m so sorry, is part of a shared sense of aesthetic values that be traced back to before the Meiji era—Dr. Donald Keene notes four of these particular aesthetic characteristics, one of which is grace and subtlety. Buddhism’s own doctrines of transience bolster this . . .
By all of this, I mean: How many endings have you seen? How many of them were satisfactory? I was a huge fan of How I Met Your Mother until its controversial ending, but alas, the biggest retcon in history snuffed out that love by blowing apart the dynamics I enjoyed. Similarly, I was a fan of the Harry Potter series until its epilogue—which is called the crapilogue many places over.
These endings spelled everything out and I hate them, I hate them enough that they crushed my entire fandom love for their associated series. I’m not one of the people who can ignore endings and cherish the past—it’s just not me.
What about anime and manga? One of my favorite anime/manga is GetBackers—it ended beautifully and I recommend it for everyone! Every now and again I encounter some poor fool who is convinced it ended with the mains getting together with random chicks and everyone hooks up and blah blah blah—but that doesn’t happen, blessedly. It ends like it begins, same status quo.
This is not to say that all anime/manga are vague, but it is definitely common. I still love Naruto (sigh, who hasn’t been there once) but I worry about its impending end—I worry how the author will take things, whether or not his ending will be ambiguous or in your face—one of those endings will be destructive to my love, though, because if something blatant is announced, becomes canon, then there’s no going back, there’s no overlooking it or daydreaming or creating: there is only finite.
A lot of creators inspire others to create, too. Who didn’t start out drawing fan art? I have my own ideas and comics now because I, at one point, was inspired by someone else’s ideas. If all my own headcanons are destroyed by an ending, that creative urge is destroyed, too. Of course no creator has to change their story to suit strangers—all I’m saying is that the ending to a story has an impact. For me, the vaguer, the better, in order to love something forever.
Off*Beat has been a part of life since I was essentially Tory’s age. I loved it because (embarrassingly) I am like Tory a lot—even the obsessive, stalker type things, haha, which I don’t mind admitting since I’ve mostly grown out of it and am on the internet lol. I liked him and related to him, and even if OB wasn’t a constant presence in my life, I had 2 sets of the TP books—one set I kept at home, the other I brought with me when I traveled. And my friends and I did create! We daydreamed about the characters when they were older and made up little headcanons for them and drew art, too!
So it was with trepidation that I started reading Volume 3 lest it undo everything I imagined for it—not that my little teenage stories were canon, per se, but alas, I feel that their memory is good, the prospect to continue to dream is greater.
This is a real essay, wow. I’m very happy with this ending, even though, yes, I’d love to see The Adventures of Dr. Blake and Colin Stephens; if I don’t, though, they’ll still live in my head and heart.April 19, 2014 at 6:59 pm #4466
Hi Mina, have you ever posted your art anywhere? Your experiences are a lot like mine with O*b and I was wondering if we ever crossed paths somewhere else. And I think everyone is so happy about the open ending, which is similar to where we were back in 2006 with the end of Vol 2.. and that led to some really awesome creativity from fans. ^_^
I’m hoping for the same here. Your post is spot on :) I think it’s vague because the story hasn’t ended, it’s really just beginning.April 19, 2014 at 7:54 pm #4467MinaParticipant
I’ve never actually posted my Off*Beat art online, but you recently followed me on tumblr (I’m radio-flyer!) and I link to my art blogs (like voodoo-radio) in my sidebar under the about, so maybe you’ve seen my old and obsolete art there (that I am ashamed of and should delete, oops). Haha. It’s been, like, a year since I’ve uploaded new art, but that’s the way of the student, I guess.April 19, 2014 at 8:58 pm #4468
I loved your artwork, especially the South Park treatments you did :). I didnt see any Offbeat though… But I do like your style and hope you keep your old art (I know some people cringe at their old stuff but I love watching the development process)April 20, 2014 at 11:57 am #4476five-pmMember
@wonder1440, It seemed to me that it was uncertain whether Colin went along with the project willingly or became a prisoner to it. I think Tory haven’t figured out which one it is yet. It’s possible that even Colin doesn’t really know. (Tory asked him once: “How can you not know what you`re thinking?!”, but it is not at all surprising when you are a teenager and so many things change and happen for the first time and are confusing.)
I would like to believe that Colin is genuinely interested in the project and wants it to succeed and that ultimately it was his decision to go into the next phase. It seems more likely to me, from the way he was speaking. (I also would like to believe that he could stop any time he wanted, that it is not the kind of process where there is no coming back once you have started. That hope comes from my belief that Dr. Garrets is a responsible adult and a decent person and cares about his ward (at least to some extent), and therefore would not let him get involved into the Project if it <em>had to be</em> a lifetime commitment.) (Because human experimentation is already controversial enough. But when the test subject is underage? Consent is a very tricky question. And so there has to be as many fail-safes as possible.)
If it`s like this, then Tory and Colin can work together on The Gaia Project and probably create something so revolutionary that it will change the human race forever *__*
And if it’s not the case and Colin was somehow pressured by Dr. Garrets to join the Project or volunteered willingly but later regretted his decision and now is indeed trapped as a ‘lab rat’, then, now that Tory has finally found him, it’s only a matter of time before he figures out how to get Colin out. And they will surely succeed. Because Tory is smart and awesome like that.(Hopefully, the escape plan wouldn’t involve shooting Dr. Garrets dead like in a certain dream of Tory’s. Seriously, I can’t believe Dr. Garrets is really a bad person. If only for the fact that he is Jen Lee Quick`s character.^^)
So, whether it’s the latter or the former or something in-between, Colin and Tory are together again and that’s what truly matters. They will figure everything else out. That’s the way I see it.
<blockquote>Maybe I am normal?</blockquote>
mm, I would say you`re offbeat, just like we all here =^__~=
So, after rereading Chapter 18 part 2 & The Epilogue several times and having some time to reflect on the storm of emotions they cause, I feel like I can shape a few more impressions into words:
Even more than the kiss, I liked the hug they shared afterwards. *^_^* Such a beautiful heart-warming moment.
I absolutely loved the entirety of dialog between Colin and Tory in this chapter but my favourite part probably was: “Ha ha ha…”, “Heh, heh”, “hee hee hee” – “Okay. So what the hell was funny just then?” – “Nothing? Everything?“.
I really love the fact that it is not stated when exactly the Epilogue takes place so we don’t know how much time has passed.
(I hope it’s not the year 2014! But then, Tory is really smart, it couldn’t not have been too long…)
And I can’t help but think that Tory and Colin`s separation mirrors Off*Beat’s hiatus. Which makes me feel all the more strongly about their reunion. Oh, which somehow reminds me –
Happy Easter, everyone(who celebrates it)!April 20, 2014 at 1:46 pm #4477
I agree with you after re reading Chapter 18 and other parts of the book. Colin has to want the Gaia Project or nobody would see him at all and he’d be locked up in some lab (like he was when Tory was letting his imagination run wild). I think he is enthusiastic about it and doesn’t want to stop. I do feel better that Tory has found him later on in life… it’s as if there’s nothing they can’t do when they’re together.
I love your idea that the time Tory and Colin spend apart mirrors the time between Vol 2 and 3. That’s a very cool way of looking at it!
I did ask Jen about one thing and she was kind enough to share.. I asked about Tory’s friendship with Mandy moving forward and whether he was going to stay at St. Peters or go back to his local school. Tory does finish at St. Peters (he graduates early yay!!!) and he and Mandy become very close friends. Now I have ideas about Mandy helping Tory track down Colin XD I really really enjoyed the Mandy and Tory aspect of the story!
I’m also finishing the Wikipedia article. Since it was left abandoned in 2009 I’ve been trying to keep it up to date (I’m horrible at doing Wikipedia, so suggestions are welcome!)
Happy Easter to you too <3April 21, 2014 at 1:23 pm #4486
OK, here’s something I missed on the first 40 rereads lol. The woman who greets Tory at Grow-Pak directs him to the domestic wing. Domestic? Tory? Colin?? *uncontrolled disturbing of the peace screaming*May 8, 2014 at 10:59 pm #4616animatorwannabeParticipant
I wasn’t nearly as emotional as I thought I would be after all these years.
I read it once. Posted the links on my fan group on facebook.
Came back a week later, read it again, and cried.
I think the fact that I’m going through so much stuff has made me so cold.
Anyways, I loved the fact that Colin initiated it honestly.
I was always under the impression that Tory did and when I noticed how he was all shy to Colin in his room. I couldn’t help but squeal out in enjoyment.
These characters will always have room in my heart. And since Tory’s name is so close to mine. (Christopher ‘Tory’ Blake – Christian D. Blakes) I am thinking of naming my first child that. xD I read this story on pure accident one day. Because I was obsessed with reading shounen ai stories, and at first, I didn’t think it was. And so I bought it and I kept with it since. Praying and hoping that the third one come out.
Needless to say. I’m so happy to see an end to this. I’ve been obsessively drawing these two boys like they were my own characters. My deviantart is probably filled with a hundred or more pictures of Off*beat. I even did some spin off comics and a story or 4 with the characters. I needed this end for closure but now that it’s over, I’ll keep the fan base strong as much as I can. It’s a joy being a fan of Jen. And I’ve even met two good friends through the fan base as well. But that ending though. (╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻
I want sexy make out time. Dammit! LolJanuary 15, 2015 at 4:28 pm #11764Erika KarisawaGuest
OMG OMG OMG FINALLY THEY KISS but I cried for Tory when it said Colin never came back BUT WHEN THEY SAW EACHIOTHER AGAIN I WAS SO HAPPYJanuary 19, 2015 at 7:55 pm #11860Lillian Diaz-PrzybylKeymaster
You all should go check out our Membership Exclusive of the month, if you haven’t already. ;-)February 9, 2015 at 11:58 pm #12363
I did. Tory’s hands and lips :PFebruary 22, 2015 at 5:45 pm #12663AogeraParticipant
I’m happy to find a forum dedicated to the 3rd off*beat – there’s not enough discussion around about it on the internet.
Unpopular Opinion time, I didn’t like the ending. Let me take you through this since we’re all rational creatures here.
Up to the kiss (and the hug, which was almost better than the kiss; so loving and tender and really felt right), everything was pretty perfect. The slow build of Tory and Colin’s affection felt really natural and it was the perfect pace. They’re two weird kids (one has OCD the other’s consented to a lifetime of restrictive experiments) but they find sanctuary in each other. Their experiences together don’t scream ‘sci fi romance’, there’s no guns or explosions, in fact most of the time they’re studying. How wonderfully ordinary. It makes their affections more tender and true. I love these two as a couple, I was so worried that the affection was so subtle that Jen wouldn’t put them together in the last book!! (agh, the torture!)
So, here’s where I felt a sense of loss. The build up was so good; best example of perfect-length-romance-build I can think of. I didn’t like when Colin left; he was being really selfish. He didn’t leave Tory a note, he left him a plant in the back of his wardrobe saying “he’ll figure it out”. How unfair for Tory to give his affections to someone who won’t fight for them. Of course, Colin is under a lot of pressure from his life of duty and isolation and he’s very shy and introverted, but this felt too callous. I thought they wanted to be together and Colin just upped and left. A kidnap would have been okay , but this was Colin’s free will. (Not that I want Colin kidnapped!)
At first this felt like a bit of an emotion-tease, which worked. Colin and Tory were reunited and the sense of loss made the unity more powerful. After the most perfect kiss and hug, Colin just deserts him again!! with nothing more than a “you’ll figure it out” and some plant feed – seriously, dude! Tory isn’t there to chase after you; if you want to be with him you have to work together. That’s just what a relationship is. It’s unfair on Tory. Of course, Colin is under these crazy restrictions. Then again he could just leave the Gaia project. But then he’s letting down his parent’s legacy. But his parents are gone and all Colin will have is doctor Garet who is clinical and cold and he’s choosing this over Tory who loves him.
The epilogue; it was set after they graduated high school, clearly even more time after that since Tory graduated college as a doctor, so much stuff has happened to them. To top that off, Tory hasn’t even been living for himself. Colin isn’t acting like a loving and understanding partner he’s being uncompromising and dictating how Tory has to live to be with him. Dangling the promise of love. This puts a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. I don’t like feeling. Tory is being used. (And how is a doctor going to have a romance with one of his patients? Code of practise, people?)
I don’t know, I guess I wanted to see a conclusion when they were still the age we knew them. The combination of Colin’s abandonment, Tory’s pain, then the years of living completely separate lives just makes them different people. Jen started them on a great story and ended them in a different one I have no knowledge of. I don’t know.
Aaaaaanyway, I’m sorry this is so long. I love the series so much and I wanted to tell Jen and some of the fan base how It made me feel. The wait between book 2 and 3 has probably just intensified my emotions. I’d love to chat more about this, and please feel free to challenge anything i’ve said! If i’ve made you think “Woah, that is the total opposite of my feelings!” then let’s discuss it – I’d like to get some other angles on the manga.
Jen, I have to thank you so much firstly for drawing this and then for persevering through the publishing nightmare that no author should ever have to experience.February 27, 2015 at 11:05 am #12895
I think Tory realizes Colin’s need to continue the project… and Colin probably is complimenting Tory by telling him everything but telling him nothing by leaving the Grow Pak seeds.
Also, I think they are married by the time Tory joins Colin (there was mention of the domestic wing). He may not be working directly with Colin (conflict of interest) but may be working with Grow Pak. He may or may not be a doctor either, or may be an intern.
I asked Jen about what happens between the end of the last chapter and the epilogue. Tory and Mandy become close, Tory’s mom is relieved that Tory is forming relationships with people his own age and is supportive and accepting. Tory finishes high school early.
She also told me Colin is all in on the project and has no desire to leave it.
I think their love is so strong as to not be stopped by all the obsticles they have between them :-)November 26, 2015 at 12:18 am #39587IrregularWatcherGuest
This story was really deep and I loved the story to death to read it several time before I died from embarrassment from the details in their love. The characters were far from boring. Like any good story I wished it continue but otherwise that be too much. This has a unique plot of who that I’ve never seen. This unrequited love story has me to pieces. I still have lots of questions also.
Sorry if this is a bit messy but I type fast when I’m ecstatic and I’m pretty jumbled when it comes to words. Though the story and plot was amazing, I was a bit unsatisfied with the ending or epilogue, because the questions I have left me with more wonder and in the story plot it self is a bit, incomplete.
Though I didn’t discover Sparkler til this year. I’m pretty sure I’d be one of those fools who check up on the website everyday to see if there is an update regardless whether or not I know the updating schedule. Especially with this work.
…UGH, okay a little more ranting, I mean I don’t want to go into what specifically makes me want more but… okay I literally don’t know but it has an alluring story plot that makes me want to read it over and over again til I get sick of black and white.November 26, 2015 at 8:16 pm #39636
What questions did you have about the end? I love talking about it!!! <3
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