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One Punch Reviews #77: Toilet Genie

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The opening sequence of Cari Corene’s Toilet Genie is not unlike having escargot at a classy French restaurant: the atmosphere is pretty, the appetizer is kinda gross, and yet it’s still pretty compelling and makes you hungry for the main dish. Then suddenly, the main dish arrives, and it’s a college philosophy thesis. Slathered in barbecue sauce.

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The opening scenes of Toilet Genie are pretty killer. A horrible kid ditches his pug in a filthy bathroom. After splashing around in the urine-filled toilet a bit (ewwwwww), the pug encounters a handsome fellow chained to the toilet. He is Vidu, our titular toilet genie. He spies the pug, whose name is Skittlez, and grants her three wishes: a butt scratch, hugs, and love from her master. Shazam! Skittlez is transformed from a cute little toilet-loving pup into an attractive young woman.

Um, relatively speaking. Ms. Corene has a lovely art style, full of angular shadows and bright textures. Also, the dudes are a billion times more beautiful than the women. I mean, sure, Skittlez is cute, but with her giant pug-like eyes and pale skin she definitely looks a little like Gollum’s long lost sister. Of course, since this is a genie, there’s an ironic twist. In this case, Skittlez gets kicked to the curb after she menstruates. (EWWWWWWW!) She gets rescued, though, by a male nurse who is best described as dreamy.

Around this point, though, the story very swiftly and regretfully into Expositionland. Our male nurse, Anya, is familiar with the genie, and he begins daydreaming about Vidu and a pretty wolf man. (And despite my initial impressions, the long-haired character with thick eyelashes, pouty lips, a slim waist, and what look to be furry boobs is, in fact, a dude.) Suddenly, the pages are filled with huge chunks of text that look like they should be in an appendix somewhere. We learned about the animistic mythology, the three heavens, and the stunning realization that menstrual blood is magic.

No. I didn’t make that up.

To Ms. Corene’s credit, the art is appropriately cosmic. The version of Vidu in this extended flashback looks is serene, playful, and godlike. But, when you think about it, for a very long stretch, nothing is happening. We’re watching Skittlez and Anya sitting down, drinking coffee, and doing nothing. Well, nothing except dreaming about two dude talking to each other. I mean, this is a visual medium. It would’ve been nice if these paragraphs were actually illustrated rather than spelled out. After that initially burst of weirdness, Toilet Genie gets boring.

But then again, we’d miss out on all the dialogue, like this: “In the smallest of arcane acts, like throwing a rock, Purpose is just Purpose. It’s easy. But the most powerful the arcane art, the more Purpose becomes compartmentalized into one of three types of magic….” Practically paints a mindscape for you, doesn’t it?

Final Rating: 3 stars (out of 5).

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About El Santo

Somehow ended up reading and reviewing almost 300 different webcomics. Life is funny, huh? Despite owning two masks, is not actually a luchador.

Posted on January 23, 2013, in 3 Stars, fantasy webcomic, manga style webcomic, One Punch Reviews, The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I really like this blog, and until now I’ve had nothing but love for you but… Could you act a bit more mature about menstruation? It’s just a natural thing for women.
    Other than that I like the review and agree with the rating.

    • While I admit to being immature, Suzu, the image of a girl with a bloodied skirt isn’t exactly not off-putting, you know? It would be on par to seeing an image of somebody wetting their pants. I reserve my ewwww‘s for both occasions.

  2. I like this comic for the art. the story is super weird and i remember being totally thrown off by the menstruation thing (and I’m a woman so uh…).

  3. I found “Toilet Genie” some years ago on Deviantart. And I liked the beginning. The menstruation thing wasn’t so off putting for me. But I can understand that other reader might react different. And I found the increase from “ewwww” to “EWWWWWW” just hilarious.

    But really the comic is disappointing. The start was very promising. A pug is turned into a girl and has to decide if she should go after her own wish to win the love of her asshole master, or if she should help the genie. While dealing with the fact that she is now a human. Very nice start and you could have done a lot with the plot.

    But it seemed to have taken the turn to the completly… I don’t know how to say… overly philosofical, theological, intellectual, even esoteric way. And yeah walls of text. I have not the nerve to read that. Sorry. Maybe the author would have been better off to split this two parts. And instead of one story should would have had two stories. Or she could have put all the philosofical and mythological stuff into an article series. I don’t know. But it is a bit a shame because the art is really beautiful.

    But it is really boring. Because neither in the cave with Sedna and Vidu something really remarkable happens nor in the coffee bar were Skittlez and Anya hang around. Which actually doesn’t make that much of sense to me. As they have only a limited amount of time to do something. And then they are drinking coffee and sit around?

    I like the idea of doing the comic in different illustration styles. Just a comic is not all about fancy art. The storytelling is also important. And in this part there are really great problems.

    The thing where Vidu mentions that menstrual blood is magic reminded me of these weird women who paint pictures with their menstrual blood. Which is for me a really good reason to go fully: “EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!”

  4. At first I was entrigued by this comic. It started out interesting, then it turned into something else without resolving the previous idea. The state I left it in was straddling the fine line between a very convoluted creation myth/origin story, and “omg so special” original character wank.

    Now I’m remembering why flashbacks are so dreaded in media, it’s because a good number of them have no new impact on the present plot itself. Whatever you do or decide to introduce, make sure important stuff is happening in your comic. Make sure your characters are actually doing shit.

    I don’t care about content at all as long as it’s well thought out, so no thoughts on the menstruation thing.

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