Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius

From February 2016, I worked for one year with Square Enix as the English localisation editor for Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius, one of those smartphone gacha RPGs. How about that!

The game is continuing — the story is serialised, and there are regular events, etc. — but I’ve finished working on it as of the end of January 2017.

My job was, basically, to take the initial English translation and make it prettier. The work ranged from straight proofreading to heavy rewriting, depending on the needs (and priority) of the material. Unfortunately, due to technical and organisational issues beyond my control, not all of the game text was even seen by me, let alone edited, so if you play the game, you’ll find that the text, in places, switches back and forth between professional quality and, uh, less-than-professional quality, with no apparent pattern — a fact that will always nag at me, but oh well. The parts I worked on, I improved, and I’m proud of that.

With a tiny few exceptions, I didn’t have the foresight to take screenshots of Patrick’s Greatest Edits as I played through the game. Happily, however, some players were so pleased with the dialogue in the game that they did. So I’ve gathered some bits and pieces from social media, reassembled complete conversations where possible, and plopped them into a gallery for you here. I don’t know how representative it is, but anyway, it’s a taste. Naturally, I’ve only included text that I edited heavily enough that I feel I can reasonably take some credit (or blame) for it, but remember that all of it is the product of a kind of assembly-line collaboration, from the writers, to the translators, to me.

I did my best to give the characters strong, recognisable voices, and to make the dramatic bits more memorable and affecting, but naturally it’s the bits where I enhanced the humour of a scene, or just straight-up added jokes to boring conversations, that are popular with the internet’s assorted screenshot-takers, AND RIGHTLY SO. Thank you, screenshot-takers!

(More) Tobias and Jube illustrations

*blows dust off website*

*cough cough*

I had an extremely busy 2016, and a quite productive one — just not obviously productive; a lot of it was taken up with a new Tobias and Jube comic that I can’t show you yet (among other projects). But I did manage to squeeze in these two lovely illustrations…

Print available. Tobias and Jube come across a garden of eyes whose attention seems to be anywhere else.

I used a pencil for ‘inking’, here, for the first time, which is something I’d wanted to try. It matches the watercolours and feels comfortable to me. (In fact, no actual pencils or paints were involved — both of these illustrations were done entirely on my ipad pro, in Procreate.)

Print available.

On the whole I take my Christmas thoroughly Anglo, with as many pre-Christian rituals and ornaments as possible bleeding through, but of course also with proper carols, joyful and mysterious, about magic baby God, born to be sacrificed to himself, or, alternatively and ideally, about Wenceslas, a nice king with hot feet. No Santy Claus, no holly jolly jingle dingle, no crooners, no divas. But these are mostly aesthetic preferences; religion and spirituality have something but not so very much to do with it — consequently I’m happy to incorportate whatever ideas and symbols and activities happen to catch my fancy into my personal concept and practice of Yuletide, which is really the only way to do it nowadays, isn’t it?

So what have we got here. We’ve got some carolers who are a bit Peanuts and a bit Dickens. We’ve got some Japanese-style winter illuminations. We’ve got some holly wrapped around an old-as-fuck stone monument of the kind that dot the landscape of Tobias and Jube’s little world. What does it mean? Does anyone remember? And perhaps candles always burn with blue flame at Christmas, which is why no-one’s FREAKED OUT about that. Perhaps it’s got something to do with the Ghost of Christmas Present, or Father Christmas, or whoever it is, lurking in the background there, inspecting the scene with what we should hope is an approving eye. (Or maybe Leroy, the wizard, did it.) The ginkgo tree, like the ones here in Tokyo, is nearly bare at just this time of year. And I wonder if El Bobba, down the front there, is on his way to plop that yuzu into a hot bath, in line with the Japanese winter solstice tradition.

The new Tobias and Jube comic I mentioned earlier? You can meet all the carolers pictured above in that comic. Stay tuned.

Tobias and Jube’s Quality Assortment

On Sale Now 2x4_01 2x4_02 2x4_03 2x4_04 2x4_05

LINE STORE: Tobias and Jube’s Quality Assortment

オーマイガー!! Moderately beloved cartoon double act Tobias and Jube have arrived on Line Messenger! WOW your acquaintances and very professional business contacts with this odd, colourful sticker set, featuring a fun mix of English and Japanese.


Click right here, or search for ‘Tobias and Jube’ or 「トバジュー」 in the Line Store. おねがいしまーす!

There will be more Tobias and Jube news coming very soon.

Big Steps / Just Resting My Eyes

postcard-054-web postcard-055-web

Technically, these are numbers 54 and 55 in my long-running coaster/postcard project, but the first was coloured partly digitally and I threw out the original because the messed-up colours were so upsettingly ugly, and the second was coloured entirely digitally (and it took bloody hours), so… I feel like we’re quite far removed from the original concept at this point, which was just to doodle Raymondo-type drawings on beer coasters and splash some colour on them later.

Both of these are available to buy as prints via society6 — framed or canvas-ised; big or small; however you want ’em:

DIE HARB / Betsy and Ronaldica

DIE HARB Betsy and Ronaldica

I don’t do a lot of fan art, and when I do I don’t know if ‘fan art’ is a suitable term for it because I’m basically making fun of everything 100% of the time, even the stuff I like. Well, here are a couple of pieces from my sketchbook that I ended up going all the way with. I love Die Hard with all of my heart, and I have mixed and complicated but broadly affectionate feelings about Archie comics.

Both of these pictures are available to buy as prints from society6:

Business Cat Adventures


Marconi secures a major deal with an independent contractor in Thailand — but is appalled to discover his new partner rules a private empire built on murder and slavery!

“Just the same as yours,” laughs Bison. “The difference is, I have no illusions!”

He orders his minions to haul Marconi onto a jumbo jet and fly it into a volcano, but our hero escapes and returns to the dictator’s lair, probably to make a speech about democracy/America and then chop his head off with that sword.

From 2013, for an exhibition. Buy it as a print here!

Insufficient Stories MP3s

Insufficient Stories by Patrick Alexander - cover

Get ’em here! Clickety-click!

I made MP3s of all 32 Insufficient Stories, for you to have, if that is your heart’s wish. Nothin’ fancy; I just ripped the audio from the videos. Close your eyes and believe I’m with you.

You can have them totally for free, or you can pay something for them if you want to show your appreciation for my unique and extraordinary genius. (I’m still a genius even if you don’t pay, though. Just so that’s clear.)

Gunshot McCluskie

Insufficient Stories by Patrick Alexander

Gunshot McCluskie

Jimbo ‘Gunshot’ McCluskie was the quickest draw in a Japanese peasant village in the year 910. He had previously been the likely seventy-sixth quickest draw in the Old West, but he fell through a time portal and now he was number one. Now he was top dog around here, and these heathen chinky-chonks had best pay him mind.

“Watch this,” he said, and took his six-shooter out of its holster and fired a bullet out of it, into a bale of hay. The peasants all thought to themselves, “That is definitely the fastest we have ever seen that action performed. As far as we know,” they thought, “that is as fast as it’s possible to do whatever it was that was,” and they cowered and trembled, very reasonably.

“Y’all like that?” asked Jimbo of no peasant in particular, and shot off three more rounds, into more bales of hay. The peasants threw themselves to the ground and covered their heads in terrible fear.

One young man whispered desperately to his elder: “Uncle, we must do something, or soon all of our bales of hay will have small holes in them!” he said, except in Early Middle Japanese.

“Quiet, you fool,” the old man replied. “Here is a god who holds thunder in his hand. Would you have us die for hay?”

“Uncle,” the young man explained, “as the second son of a lowly peasant in a society where powerful men take multiple wives, I am statistically unlikely to be married. Therefore I relieve myself amorously by means of congress with the bales of hay, and have become emotionally attached to them. I love the bales of hay, Uncle. I love them.”

“If that is so, boy,” hissed the elder, “then our bales of hay already have small holes in them, and few more should suit your purposes ideally. I daresay,” he added, with a sharp-toothed look, “consummately.”

“But Uncle, surely there is a principle at stake.”

While these frantic murmurings continued, Jimbo ‘Gunshot’ McCluskie realised that he had run out of bullets, and had no means of acquiring more. He reflected on this as best his flaccid brain could manage, and after some moments quietly fled. When the peasants finally nerved themselves to look up, Jimbo was nowhere to be seen.

But the next day he came back to the village, looking for food. The peasants had a good laugh and then beat the shit out of him.

Hardly Die

Insufficient Stories by Patrick Alexander

Hardly Die

John McClame, an original character, was sitting in the office of the dad from Family Matters, who had risen to become the boss of all the policemen in America. They were both old, grey, and world-weary, but only John was grizzled, and that was really the only way to tell them apart because I’m not a racist.

“You look like hell, John,” said the dad from Family Matters.

“I feel like it,” smirked John. “Nine-thirty in the morning and I haven’t had several beers yet.”

The dad from Family Matters laughed, and not a sympathetic chuckle like you would expect, but a big, bellowing guffaw, with his head thrown back and his palms slapping the desk, for about 90 seconds; it was startling and weird. Then he said: “How’s Holly?”

John did a sad squint. “She divorced me, Carl. She divorced me again. We’ve been divorced seventeen times now. That means we could get married sixteen times and we’d still be divorced. You got a light?” John had put a tobacco smoking cigarette between his lips and was patting his pockets, but he was only wearing a singlet and underpants so he didn’t have any pockets. “She don’t want nothin’ to do with me. She changed her name to Maximillian Whippet-Sharpener. She moved to France and got a job as the front half of a pantomime giraffe, in a pantomime zoo. They’ve got this… this whole pantomime zoo, Carl. Just people in animal costumes. You’ve gotta see it to believe it.”

The dad from Family Matters listened and nodded with the kindly eyes and simple wisdom of no race in particular. Suddenly fifteen trucks exploded.

“So how about you, Carl?” John said with a smirk. “Still a desk jockey, huh? Couldn’t take the heat?” He leaned out the window and lit his cigarette on a flaming truck that was flying past, demonstrating that he, John McClame, could take the heat.

The dad from Family Matters pursed his lips and looked up at the ceiling, and his hands balled into fists on the desk. You might think, “Oh, he’s inspecting the light fittings, and some mosquitoes landed on his palms so he’s squishing the mosquitoes, and also he doesn’t want any mosquitoes to fly into his mouth,” but actually it means he was sad. John noticed this due to his sensitive side.

“I shot a kid, John,” said the dad from Family Matters. “I shot a kid.”

“Jeez, Carl, I’m sorry man,” said John, smirking as little as possible.

“I just keep shooting ‘em, John. Water pistols… candy bars… yo-yos… tricycles… they all look like guns to me. I just keep shooting kids wherever I go, man. I shot fifteen kids this morning.”

“You’re a good cop, Carl,” said John, barely smirking at all. “You’re a good cop. You gotta believe that.”

“Hands, John. Hands look like guns; you ever notice that? The teacher says, ‘Now children, does anybody have a question for Officer Winslow?’ and blam! That’s twenty-five dead kids. Blam!” The dad from Family Matters put his face into his hands and began to sob. “Blam! B-blam!”

“It was an accident, Carl,” said John, smirking not even once. “Everybody makes accidents.” Gently but firmly he drew the dad from Family Matters’ hands away from his face and dried each tear with the burning tip of his cigarette. Then he put the cigarette back in his mouth and kissed the dad from Family Matters softly on the lips.

For a crucial moment they gazed into each other’s eyes. “Was that an accident, cowboy?” breathed the dad from Family Matters at last.

John pressed his calloused palm against the new friend standing between his old friend’s legs. It was as hard as a leftover twinkie from the 1980s, and bigger than average, though purely by coincidence and not for any specific, innate reason. “Yippee-ki-yay,” he whispered into the dad from Family Matters’ ear, “me-fucker.”

They got naked and made hot love inside each other; rough, determined dick-fucking with an undercurrent of grim patriotism. They were both eighty-five years old. They fucked and fucked until their pendulous old balls had run out of cum and they were shooting dusty air up each other’s arseholes. John was chain-smoking the entire time.

When it was over, the dad from Family Matters said, “America needs you for one last mission, John McClame.”

“No can do,” said John. “I always get unappreciated and I’m tired of that.”

The dad from Family Matters nodded. “I respect your decision and won’t try to change your mind. You’re an old man and entitled to a peaceful retirement. Thanks for coming in, John.” They shook hands and John McClame went home and had a nice, hot cup of tea.

Rocket Spaceman and the Mission to Space

Insufficient Stories by Patrick Alexander

Rocket Spaceman
and the Mission to Space

Rocket Spaceman got a call from the President… of Earth! It was the future! They were both white American men with neat hair.

“Rocket Spaceman, the Earth is in danger. You must do a mission. There is only one man who can do this mission, and that man is you, Rocket Spaceman: Rocket Spaceman. This is the President.”

Rocket Spaceman looked the President in the eye, because the phone had a television on it and he could do that. “I’ll do everything I can to help, Mr President.” His manly, clean-shaven jaw moved up and down as he spoke, exactly as you would expect.

“Thank you, Rocket Spaceman,” said the President, his face squinty with gratitude, like an old war veteran looking at a flag. “I mean obviously I’m giving you an order here, though. You couldn’t have actually said no.”

“Yes but even if I could have said no, I wouldn’t have,” said Rocket Spaceman, his blue eyes gleaming with explaining his position clearly.

“What if the mission was very dangerous, though?” said the President. “Because guess what! This mission is very dangerous.”

“Yes, I assumed it was very dangerous,” said Rocket Spaceman, his noble nose giving hope to children, “and I said yes anyway.

“Well of course you did, Rocket Spaceman, because I’m the President and you have to do what I tell you,” the President explained helpfully.

“Yes, Mr President, but…” – here Rocket Spaceman paused to think of the right words to form with his heroic mouth parts – “but I have my own reason for saying yes to dangerous missions; my own personal reason, to do with my personality.”

“Oh!” went the President. He raised his hands to his head and wagged them back and forth like rabbit ears, which in the future is how people express surprise and interest. “And what reason might that be?” he asked, cocking his head to one side and wiggling his nose.

Rocket Spaceman had become visibly uncomfortable, in a gutsy, intrepid sort of way. “Sir, I… I would really prefer that this sort of thing remain implicit; that we exchange a brief, silent gaze of mutual respect and understanding.”

“Oh, pshaw!” pshawed the President, with a good-natured sudden upward thrust of the left knee. “Don’t be shy, Rocket Spaceman. Tell me why you would do the dangerous mission even if I hadn’t ordered you to. Come on now.”

“Sir, I…”

“Is it because of bravery, Rocket Spaceman? Are you brave?” The President asked this as though guessing at charades.

“Well, I…”

“Rocket Spaceman, listen to me. This is your President speaking. I’m asking you for information! It could be important! So if you’re brave, you’d better tell me. And what’s more, you’d better tell me just exactly how brave you are.” He planted a commanding stare upon Rocket Spaceman’s facial zone.

At last, Rocket Spaceman gave an obedient nod. He stood with his arms behind his back like an army person, his chest sticking out inspiringly with muscles. Gazing evenly into the distance, past all the holographic flying cars, he spoke: “I am brave, Mr President. Very, very brave. My willingness to face mortal danger, time and time again, makes me the bravest man in the world.” Then, still gazing into the distance, he held up a sheet of card with, ‘But it isn’t glamorous; it’s a burden,’ written on it.

“Oh, no, no, no,” said the President with a dismissive backwards somersault. “Surely you’re not brave; you’re just doing your duty like an everyday citizen.”

Rocket Spaceman was a little taken aback. “Well, I… Well, yes sir; in fact that’s exactly what I tell people when they call me brave.”

“So, you agree with me?”

“Uh… well… yes, sir.”

“OK! Great. Thanks for clearing that up.” The President made a note on his atomic space-clipboard, speaking the words aloud as he wrote: “Rocket… Spaceman… is not… brave.”

“No, no, wait a moment, sir,” said Rocket Spaceman. “I am brave.”

“You are brave?” echoed the President, confused. He looked back at his clipboard. “That’s not what it says here. I thought you said you just do your duty, like an everyday citizen.”

“I…” Rocket Spaceman almost winced. “I was being humble, sir.”

“Oh, I see! I see,” said the President, and made another note: “Rocket… Spaceman… says… he is… humble.” He licked the heel of his right foot for a moment, to indicate he was thinking, then turned a serious eyeball towards Rocket Spaceman.

“Rocket Spaceman, does this mean that if you weren’t brave, you wouldn’t obey my orders?”

“Oh, no, sir. I would always do my duty, Mr President. I would always” – he repeated, this time staring into the distance again – “do my duty.”

“So this bravery of yours is purely theoretical, Rocket Spaceman. It has no observable effect on your behaviour. The reason you do dangerous missions is because I tell you to do them; isn’t that correct?”

Rocket Spaceman sighed in a masculine way. “Yes, sir.”

“Very well, then. Let’s have no more of your unseemly bragging. I need the facts, Rocket Spaceman. I’m the President.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Rocket Spaceman, your mission is this: Erogenella, the Vinyl-Costumed Sex Queen of Jupiter, has threatened to destroy the Earth unless we send her a handsome sex slave as tribute. Our top brain scientists have determined that because Erogenella is a woman, sooner or later she will fall in love with our brave hero, which will neutralise the Jovian threat. Now this may happen as soon as she lays her exotic golden eyes upon him, but more likely, weeks, months, even years of kinky alien sex may be necessary.”

Rocket Spaceman did body language that meant he was steeling himself. “Mr President, I’m ready to make any sacrifice to protect the people of Earth.”

“I’m glad to hear it, Rocket Spaceman, because we’ve chosen your younger brother Larry Spaceman to be our tribute, and we need you to take him to Jupiter in your rocket.”

Larry!?” cried Rocket Spaceman in valiant surprise.

“Well, as you know, he doesn’t have a rocket of his own.”

“But… but sir! Larry… Larry is…”

“Yes, Rocket Spaceman?” The President flared a concerned nostril. “Is there something we should know about Larry?”

“Well, for one thing, Mr President, Larry is overweight. It’s not attractive.”

“Oh, nonsense!” said the President, gesturing ‘sausage’ in sign language to convey a mixture of amusement and annoyance. “Perhaps he could lose a few pounds, which as you know is the standard unit of mass used all over the Earth. But Larry has a nice face and a great personality. Women like to laugh, Rocket Spaceman, and your brother is very, very funny.”

“I’m funny too,” declared Rocket Spaceman, “and I’ve never been more serious in all my life!”

“Rocket Spaceman, Rocket Spaceman,” said the President in a soothing tone. He reached through the television phone and patted Rocket Spaceman on the shoulder. “I can see what you’re trying to do, Rocket Spaceman. You want me to choose you as the tribute instead. You would sacrifice yourself to protect your brother from danger.” The President looked at Rocket Spaceman with admiring eyes, having first dug into his skull and popped out his standard-issue eyes.

Rocket Spaceman blushed like a man. “You can see right through me, sir.”

“Not with these ones, actually,” said the President, and swapped his admiring eyes for dual-purpose reassuring/X-ray ones. “Rocket Spaceman, your brother will receive the best training we can provide. Queen Erogenella is said to possess the beauty of a thousand human women, so we have gathered together the thousand most beautiful women on Earth, and as we speak, Larry is having sexual intercourse with them. First he will have sexual intercourse with them one by one, then in a number of combinations, incorporating every erotic fantasy scenario our experts predict he may encounter in the boudoir of the Sex Queen. This intensive sex-marathon will culminate in the formation of a massive, slippery fuck-pile; a mountain of one thousand beautiful naked women and baby oil, which Larry, your brother, will dive into and swim through in a wriggling, squeezing, squirting rhapsody of unbounded carnal pleasure. Incidentally you seem to have swallowed a paperclip.”

It was actually a staple left over from Rocket Spaceman’s tummy tuck, but he did not injure the President’s dignity by correcting him. “But sir,” he whimpered; “But sir,” he whispered, pouting with the heart of a lion, “What about me?”

“Oh, Rocket Spaceman!” the President cried, as enthusiastically as a shoe, which is a common expression in the future. “Don’t worry, Rocket Spaceman. You, too, will face dangers that I choose to accurately describe as sensual and dirty. Your flight to Jupiter is but the first leg of your mission, which has two legs, like a walrus, according to the best information we have about that long extinct animal. So prepare your ears to learn fully of this bipedality.”

“I have vestibular and cochlear nerves of steel, Mr President.”

“Very well, Rocket Spaceman. The remainder of your mission is this: An unmanned sanitation transporter the size of Lake Michigan has veered off-course, been drawn into the gravitational pull of a particular outer planet whose name I will mention shortly, and crash-landed. There is now poop all over Uranus. Rocket Spaceman, we need you to clean up the poop on Uranus. Wipe that poop off Uranus, Rocket Spaceman! There’s poop on Uranus! Clean it up.”

“But… but sir…!”

“That’s the mission, Rocket Spaceman. It’s all up to you. It will take you fifteen years. Goodbye, Rocket Spaceman! Goodbye!”

“But sir, you promised me danger!”

“Yes I did,” replied the President, shaking his head in the affirmative. “Good point, Rocket Spaceman. Rocket Spaceman, this mission is dangerous for two reasons. Firstly, our finest poop scientists believe that the vast flood of stinky poop now rapidly spreading across the jagged, hostile surface of Uranus may be on fire.

“Secondly, it’s possible that as a result of this accident, you may have to navigate an extremely delicate, even volatile, nexus of diplomatic tensions with the dominant sentient species living on Uranus, the Sharp-Toothed Easily Upset Uranian Penis Eaters. But Rocket Spaceman, I know that what you lack in physical strength and stamina, you more than make up for with intellect, discernment, and political nous.”

“No, sir, you’ve got it all wrong!” Rocket Spaceman objected. “I’m a sexy idiot!”

“Goodbye, Rocket Spaceman, and good luck! You have to do it. Goodbye, Rocket Spaceman; goodbye!” The President waved farewell, with his hands, because his feet were operating the controls of the television phone. He kept calling out, “Goodbye; goodbye!” while slowly fading out the audio before finally hanging up.

Godspeed, then, to Rocket Spaceman, purportedly brave defender of Earth – godspeed and toodle-oo! May the dreams of humanity lift your space rocket into the stars, or rocket fuel if that doesn’t work. Remember as you journey to distant worlds that you carry with you not only a mop and bucket, but Hope. Hope, the only choice of household detergent for the modern homemaker! Good luck, Rocket Spaceman, and fuck off!