My entry for
Round 3 - Sera Myu
Larger, non-animated version here: [link]
(note: there is music, so you might want to turn your sound on.
Qualification Entry: [link]
Round One - Pin-up: [link]
Round Two - Civilian: [link] Writeup Story behind the Art
When rummaging through her collection of DVDs, looking for the video diary she had made, Elise stumbled across a disc in a blank box, simply labeled "Spectrum," and a date from roughly a year ago - just after her parents had died, but before she had become Sailor Spectrum. A little stunned by the label, she put the disc in and couldn't believe what she was seeing. It was an hour long stage production, entirely in Japanese, full of music and dance numbers... and the main characters looked just like her and her Sailor Team! Well, their outfits were much more poofy and sparkly, and they were all Japanese women, but despite that the resemblances were uncanny. Not only that, but they were "fighting" against creatures that looked suspiciously like the enemies she and her team had been facing off against. What on earth was she watching???
At the end of the musical, the DVD reverted to a menu with only two options: "Play movie" and "PLEASE READ!". Elise selected the "PLEASE READ!" option, and a message appeared; her jaw dropped when she saw that it was addressed to her personally.
"Elise," it read, "I know you have a lot of questions. When you are ready for the answers, use your magic paintbrush and paint a door, and label it U27. Open that door and go through - the person waiting on the other side will be able to tell you what you need to know."To be continued... History of Sailor Spectrum
The winter after Elise's parents died, her first winter in Prism City, was the first time she noticed something "off" about the colors, and the moods of the people around her. However, there were only a few days during those months that it was really noticeable, and by the time spring came around she had convinced herself that it was due to the loss she'd suffered, and the fact that this was her first winter in a new city. However, the next winter came about and the effects were sustained and severe, and she knew there was something more to it. She tried to keep up hope, but soon it began to effect even her. Not knowing what else to do, she opened up the paint set her parents had given her, their last gift to her before their accident. She planned to paint something spectacularly colorful, to try to combat the shroud of gloom that had descended. She took out her paintbrush, held it up high, and shouted: "Please! Help me put color back in the world!" She wasn't sure why she did it--maybe as a pep talk to herself, or maybe she was asking her parents for help--but to her complete surprise, she transformed into Sailor Spectrum!
After her transformation, she knew what she had to do; it was as if she'd always known, but was only just now remembering. She walked outside and twirled her paintbrush, and as she spun it, it grew larger and larger until it was nearly the same size as she was. She hefted it in both hands, yelling out "Color Revive!" and swiped it in a great arc in front of her, the bristles trailing glimmering sparks, and everything the brush passed in front of was completely renewed, the colors perhaps even more vibrant than they had been before the gloom had come. She spent the rest of the night literally painting the town, and crawled back in her room at dawn, collapsng in exhaustion. Things seemed like they were back to normal... for a while.
It had been about a week, and Elise was starting to believe the whole thing had been a dream. But one stormy night, when the wind was howling and the snow began to fall, she woke from a restless slumber, knowing something was wrong. She leaped out of bed and transformed, rushing downtown where she saw the most awful things
wandering the streets. They looked human at first glance, but their proportions weren't quite right, and they were gray and almost featureless, as if made out of putty. There were three of them, and they each carried what looked like a gun, only it was connected by a hose to a backpack. They would point these guns at scenery - buildings, trees, and whatnot - and they fired a ray that seemed to drain all the color out of anything it hit!
Furious, Sailor Spectrum tried to attack them with her paintbrush, but was easily swatted aside. Just when it looked like she was done for, their ray guns all aimed at her, two figures swooped out of nowhere and attacked the monsters! One clad all in white, the other all in black, they wore armor, capes, and masks. They fought expertly, dispatching the things (which promptly melted when defeated) with their swords. She began to thank them for rescuing her, but the one in black cut her off. "Spare us," he said. "We have no use for a warrior who can't even defend herself." He stalked off, but the one in white remained. "Don't mind him, he always has a bad attitude. But... he's right. You aren't any good at fighting. You should stay out of it." As he turned to leave, she yelled angrily, "Oh yeah? Then train me! I'll show you that I *can* fight, and probably better than you!"
After a moment of consideration, and much to her surprise, they agreed to it. They introduced themselves simply as the Black Knight and the White Knight. She spent her nights training with them, learning real fighting moves and sparring with them using her paintbrush as her weapon, and whenever the monsters appeared (which the Knights referred to as The Neutrals) she would practice using her magic techniques. After a month or so, they seemed truly impressed with her progress. That's when they told her about Dr. Monochrome.
He was an evil scientist who had appeared out of nowhere the previous year. Like most mad scientists, he craved power and influence. By removing the colors from things he was draining them of their life force, a power the Knights were convinced he was going to use in some super weapon he was no doubt developing even as they spoke. They had never attempted an assault on his lair before, worried they didn't have enough power between just the two of them, but now that she was fighting alongside them they might have a chance at beating him. They spent the next few nights showing her his hideout and planning their attack. The Knights would draw his considerable force of Neutrals away from the castle, and she would take on Dr. Monochrome, holding him at bay until they could regroup and take him on together. The results were disaterous.
The Knights did indeed draw the Neutrals away from the Doctor's stronghold, but they never intended to return for Spectrum. Instead they watched from afar as he defeated her with ease. He was much more dangerous than they had let on, but they had hoped, if she had been put in enough danger, Sailor Spectrum might manifest new powers and win. Instead he zapped her with a draining ray, sapping her power until she was nearly unconscious. Amazed at the amount of power he was able to take from her, he decided to let her live. "By all means, try to attack me again someday, little warrior. The power I've drained from you alone is more than this entire town can provide me in a week!" And with a cackle, he threw her out to let her crawl home, bruised, beaten, and utterly humiliated.
She realized that she needed help, and though she wasn't willing to write off the Knights as traitors (she was sure they had their reasons), she wanted allies that would be equals, not mysterious superiors always keeping her out of the loop. She gathered her three best friends, Scarlet, Sunny, and Skye, and showed them that she was Sailor Spectrum. And, as though the knowledge had always been there, she used her paintbrush and made them magical items (their barettes) that would allow them to transform as well! With Sailors Red, Yellow, and Blue, they were able to combat the evil Doctor more effectively than ever.
But of course, with the escalation of their powers, Dr. Monochrome quickly developed new types of Neutrals to fight them, and began launching multiple attacks in different locations. Elise recruited more warriors, a second team that could help them out but work just as well on their own. She chose three seniors that she knew she could count on - Kelly, Amber, and Violet - to become Sailors Green, Orange, and Purple. On top of this, two other Senshi appeared that Spectrum had never met before: Sailors Cyan and Magenta. It was quite a shock to see these warriors, since she thought she was the only one who could recruit them. But then, no one had recruited *her*. They appear sometimes to help Spectrum's team defeat especially strong Neutrals, but they won't talk to her and seem to have their own agenda.
With all of these warriors fighting against him, Dr. Monochrome is becoming more and more frustrated and desperate. It's only a matter of time before he makes his next move, and it promises to be devastating... Art Notes
I hadn't seen a lot of the musicals before this, but being a former cosplayer I was familiar enough with the outfits. I did a *ton* of research, watching probably 20 hours worth of the musicals (if not more), and studying images, getting the look of the costumes down. I took some liberties; since this is a different Sailor Team, I wanted their outfits to be a little different in the details. The gold trim got replaced with pyramid studs, and I included holographic fabrics (which I'm sure they would have used more of had they been available at the time.) I'm really happy with how it turned out, but to be honest, I also feel like this: [link]
Competition in this contest is really serious, so I decided to amp it up even more and include all seven members
of Spectrum's main team. In this style, it was a serious challenge. I had wanted to go for full realism, but with this many characters there was no way I could finish it in time, so I went for semi-realism. I did the art in Photoshop, and out of curiosity I counted up my layers and was horrified to see that I had used 184
of them. Yes. One hundred and eighty-four layers. I am seriously impressed with my computer for not crashing once while working on it. I had hoped to do a little more with the background than this, but I just do not have the time to work on this any more. I've got midterm papers to work on, and I was worried I wouldn't even make it this far, so this is what I've got. I'd say I spent two hours on layout, an hour each character on linework, and 3 - 4 hours each on colors/highlights. Then another few hours on background, and about two hours editing the songs together and getting it all to work in Flash.. So somewhere between 30 - 35 hours, total. Guh.
I know I did the Flash thing for the last entry, but I just didn't feel right without at least putting music to this, since it is the *musical* round. The two songs that really define Sera Myu in my mind are Sailor War and La Soldier, but I was really torn as to which one I wanted to use... so rather than pick one, I used them both.
And since I had it in Flash anyway, i went ahead and added some lighting changes.
- Sailor War '94 from Marinamoon Special Edition
- La Soldier from Pretty Soldier Sailormoon: Eternal Edition
Light beams and Mist brushes by *redheadstock
Sparkle brushes by =kabocha
Confetti brushes: [link]
Pyramid pattern: [link]