Oh me, oh my, the end is finally here! There's been so many twists and turns, so many great stories, and so many memories since this little tournament began. But at long last, it's time to give you all the moment you've been waiting for: the results and winner are to be delivered… right after these messages!
From the audition stage to the end of the final, Karl's charisma and antihero demeanor made him an instant star. And just the same, his interactions with the other characters and the dialogue he had was a joy to read from beginning to end. Karl's story had more than its share of twists and turns, and even though a few of them were a bit predictable, each one was memorable.
In your final round, you portrayed everyone brilliantly, had plenty of Karl's trademark golden dialogue, and a very satisfying ending. However, there were several plot twists that were a bit predictable, it fell a bit short in the character insight department at times, and there was the somewhat anticlimactic battle between Karl and Jo and Umo.
All in all, you gave us a fabulous show with a snarky jerk who is somehow still one of the most likable characters in the tournament.
Throughout the OCT Karl has been a blast of a character; from the very start his personality and interactions with all members of the SDF crew was recognizable and made him stick out like sore thumb despite being the smallest character in the competition. Your story while simple was engaging throughout all of the rounds.
My biggest gripes were the lack of acknowledgment of injuries that he sustained in the rounds; there was little if not no consequences for any of them which made it feel shallow. Another was the balance between Karl's ego and the story for the round sometimes being mismatched; with Karl taking the bigger seat. The final round was a good end; even if some of it was pretty predictable in how it would turn out.
From the very start, Karl really made himself out to be the type of character I would dislike. He was a giant jerk that had zero redeemable qualities. Yet despite that, Karl was such a lovely character to read about. He never became so nasty that I had reason to hate him. And once he got this “bromance” going with Martin, I found that I wanted to follow his journey every step of the way. I finally saw something redeemable about the little jerk.
That said, the story did have its shortcomings. A fair bit of the dialogue sequences lacked description of character action and idle body movements that could solidify/enhance the experience. This results in strings of dialogue that have less impact than needed. This could also detract from insight into some characters, as they were only given dialogue and no body action to indicate emotion. In some cases, introspection from Karl would have added a great edge to the story, but these opportunities were missed. The finale was good, if predictable.
The character drama you two presented throughout the tournament was great. You have always had a gift for character interaction, and developing your own characters (as well as others'). You gave us an interesting concept for the finale, as well as a nice way of incorporating your opponent's own story and a bittersweet yet satisfying epilogue.
However, my biggest issue with the story was the focus of the drama. Jo and Umo entered the tournament for their own reasons, but the most major one quickly became Jo's illness. That's where the focus should have been.
I did enjoy the final for the most part; the interaction and the bittersweet ending were very nice. But it seemed to lack focus. It jumped from POV to POV, with not much direction except for what felt like a list of plot points that were being presented one after another before moving onto the next. When again, the focus should have mostly been on Jo and her story.
But overall, I enjoyed the story you told. And despite it all, Jo and Umo were two characters I won't be forgetting anytime soon.
Your initial premise of Jo’s illness and the story around it was truly heart-warming and was something I was invested in. Your characterization and relationship between the pair was well written; especially from characters which had entirely different backgrounds and reasons for joining.
Sadly the shakiness with the overall story arc and lackluster reveal of major plot points let you down; the ideas that were borrowed from other competitors felt tacked-on with no real weight attached to them. Your final round had no real focus and was bloated with too many competing ideas, some of which only showed themselves at the last second.
The story started out a bit plain. Once the gravity of Jo's situation was established, however, I quickly became invested in this story. There was a desperation to win for Jo, and given her good nature, it was natural for a reader to become attached to her. It was a powerful premise, which made her a joy to follow through her journey. With the added dynamic of Umo, who provided a real interpersonal conflict, Jo's illness offered a very sharp plot that was easy to relate to. And dare I say, made you want to relate to this giant bug.
However, some of the execution detracted from the overall story telling. The flow was disjointed, especially in the final, where it felt like going through a list, ticking off plot events that happened. In addition to that, quite a few major plot points and reveals were lacking in emotional impact. One of the bigger issues though, was that there was a lot of description of reactions rather than descriptions of how reactions affected the state of the characters and changed the way the story progressed. All of this combined, dulled out the sharpness of Jo's illness and so the final suffered from this, especially since your final invited a lot of introspective exploration.
But all things must end eventually, and the end is at last here! The winner of Spiral Down Films is…
And on behalf of the SDF crew, we would like to humbly thank everyone for their participation and patience in the making of this tournament. Without you, this would have never happened. So I just want to give one big final shout-out to all the competitors. We love you all!The End