It’s Tuesday which means it’s time for Crossroads Comics!
This week we’re hopping back over into the ask blog community to take a look at Ask Savel by Skins. This is a blog I’ve been wanting to review for a hot minute since I binged it back in like January or February, because not only does it have an interesting story and great art, but also, similar to Ask the Traveller, this blog is authored by one of the longest standing members of the community who recently returned from a many year long hiatus. So what better what to give them a belated welcome back than with an analysis of why this blog once was and remains very popular. And in order to do that, we’ll be analyzing three main points today: 1) the story, 2) the art, and 3) the music. Interested to figure out how it all works? Then let’s get rolling.
Little disclaimer at the start, in order to fully analyze why the story for Ask Savel is so strong, we will have to delve into some spoilers. But for now, let’s give a basic analysis of why the story is great, in my opinion. So, what is Ask Savel? Ask Savel is an ask blog that followed the blog’s namesake, Savel, a member of the Gastly line that started out life as a mysterious comet of blue light that crash-landed in a forest. Though the mysteries around Savel don’t end there. She’s also able to use some odd moves like Moonblast and Transform that most Gastly line members don’t know. Savel is also joined by her friends, Lucky and Farrow, who claim that she saved them, which only further adds to all the questions surrounding Savel and her mysterious abilities. But in order to answer them, we’ll have to delve into spoilers.
The mystery behind Savel and her unique abilities can all be boiled down to a few aspects of who she is: Savel is the holder of the Blue Light of Joy. What does that mean? Well the main plot of Ask Savel revolves around a group of characters known as the Incarnates. Billions of years prior to the current story, the first Mew foresaw a great battle that was set to take place on Earth. Fearing what would become of earth should she fail to intervene, the Mew worked with Mesprits to create eight emotion cores that were given life to become the Incarnates.
The original Incarnates created a barrier around Earth in order to protect it from the influence of Evil, allowing for the planet to flourish and grow in its infancy. However, due to the events of a different ask blog, the barrier was broken, creating large imbalances in light and dark energy. The Incarnates, through the power of song, are able to correct these imbalances. The Incarnates also come in pairs that are meant to balance each other. Just as Savel is the Incarnate of the Blue Light of Joy, her counterpart is Levas, the Incarnate of the Blue Light of Sorrow. For every light incarnate, there is a dark one. But in this case dark does not necessarily equate to evil, as we’ve seen several times thus far. In fact, of the dark incarnates, only one has shown themselves to be truly worthy of the word “evil”, but even then, there’s a reason for it.
Part of what makes Ask Savel such a well written story is not only does it have a very unique plot with interesting worldbuilding, but it also places an emphasis on the importance of emotional growth. When Farrow and Lucky say Savel saved them, they’re referencing how Savel’s powers lifted them out of the dark place they were mentally. They came to the Forgotten Forest, where Savel landed, because it was described as a place to go if you wanted to disappear. Similarly, Levas speaks of how his powers were used to give people the ability to mourn. Prior to his arrival, they were forced to laugh and smile all the time, even when a loved one died. They were never given the chance to grieve, feel enraged, or experience any emotions other than joy. However, once he sang his song, Levas balanced the area, allowing the inhabitants to be free from their state of toxic positivity.
The emotions selected for each Incarnate were no doubt chosen for a specific reason. Joy, Sorrow, Love, Hate, Gratitude, Avarice, Hope, and Fear. These are all emotions that we as people experience every day, and Ask Savel teaches an important lesson when it comes to balancing those emotions. In order to know true joy, we must experience sorrow. In order to know true love, we must experience hate. In order to feel true gratitude, we must know the feeling of avarice. And in order to have true hope, we must have felt the icy grips of fear. Each of the “dark” emotions have a role and purpose in the story and in real life. As in the example with Levas, it is okay to feel sad when experiencing a great loss. You cannot put up a positive front all the time, otherwise you will never be able to properly mourn the person you have lost. And, as Farrow’s arc shows up, it is okay to feel hate against someone who has wronged you. In cases such as abuse, it’s okay to hate them and not want to forgive them. Society puts such a large emphasis on forgiving those that wronged you in the name of love that it often leaves those that were abused feeling like they cannot hate their abusers. This is anything but true and Ask Savel makes a big point out of that. As Farrow puts it quite nicely, “Why should I not hold a grudge against those who would tried to kill me for who I am? Who made me feel like I had no place in this world? Why should I care about their thoughts and feelings? The truth is; I don’t have to, I don’t want to, and therefore I won’t.”
And what I just discussed above is only the tip of the iceberg. Ask Savel has several arcs to it revolving around the lives of Farrow and Lucky. And while I very briefly touched on Farrow’s arc, we didn’t even get to discuss Lucky’s arc at all. That’s on purpose though. These characters and their arcs are very interesting. They are sad tales, but one that show growth, both physically through things like evolution, but also emotionally as they become more resolved and understand who they and their family members are. Ask Savel does very well to tie all the arcs together in a way that doesn’t seem out of place and does very well to make you sympathize with the cat. Just keep in mind that not every member of the cast as the best motives, and it’s okay to question or even disagree with the actions taken by some of them. This is done intentionally and is just a further testament to how well written this blog and its cast are.
So moving on from the story since if I don’t stop myself now I will continue to gush on it for hours on end, let’s discuss the art. Because if there is nothing else you take away from this article it should be that Skins is really freaking skilled at what they do. In fact they’re so skilled that their commission sheet is literally just entirely backgrounds because they are just that good. And rather than just continue to talk about how great the backgrounds are, instead I’m going to include a few below and let you see them for yourself. Because you know what they say: a picture is worth a thousand words.
Finally let’s discuss the music. Skins has done some really musical compositions over the years that really accentuate some of the larger plot moments in the story. They aren’t necessary to the story but they really enhance the reading experience. If you want to give a listen to some of their stuff, you’ll find it integrated throughout several of the story posts, including: Releasing the Red Light and Jagged Pass. Skins also puts together some very cool trailers for Ask Savel before each arc that give hints into each of the possible twists and new characters that are set to appear in the future. The fact that Skins can also churn these out so fast really shows their skills and passion for the project, so if you want to check a few out, here’s a few recent ones, but be warned, they have spoilers: You, Battle Cry, and Let Me Try.
If you want to check out Ask Savel, you can find it on Tumblr. It’s also worth mentioning that this is not Skins‘s first rodeo with an ask blog. In fact, they’ve run several in the past that are part of the larger connected universe of Ask Savel. So while you can’t send them asks anymore, if you want to check them out, you can find them here: Ask Omni, Ask Shiny Plusle and Minun, and Ask Terrakion. I’m currently reading through Ask Omni at the moment so keep your eyes pealed since that might get a review too in the future once I finish it.
And without further ado, let’s check out the rest of the comics in this week’s lineup!
PMD: Chanterelle What shall the great knight do?
PMD: Wildfire Time to battle some ferals!
Pokémon Rising Shadows Look at all those cameos!
Renegade’s Redemption Wonder who this is.
Shinka: The Last Eevee Do Eevee always land on their feet? Guess we’ll find out next update!
Champion’s Mercy Beau is officially part of the team now. Hooray?
Corrupted- A Pokémon ??? Nuzlocke That Pikachu did a swore.
Dear Sergio How nice of Zamazenta to share Sergio’s destiny with him.
Evergreen There’s no such thing as over-preparing.
King of Light What do they see?
Pokémon Across Dimensions I wonder what it must be like to see your friend’s child like this.
PMD: On Borrowed Time How nice of Wigglytuff to cause permanent property damage.
Reecelocke Not really a comic update but some adorable pride art nonetheless.
Soul Food This does not seem like an easy job for sure.
Altered Heart A rough first meeting to be sure.
Deadly Syns Too little too late, Articuno.
Explorers of Shadows Houndoom’s wound doesn’t look very good.
Penumbra Ice cat acquired!
PMD: The Bonds Between Time What a cute puppo.
PMD: Rescue Rangers Hey don’t shame poor Scorbunny like that.
PMD: Turncoats Even the father is excited to see him!
Pokémon Royal A quick nap never hurts.
Ask Another Clone Now who might that be?
Ask Harmonia University Bonk!
Ask Savel Farrow is worthy!!
Crewel Intentions And none of us were happy with that resolution.
Sometimes It’s Family A bunch of delicious treats to be had!
Team Next-Gen Carrying on the legacy of those that came before! How admirable!
Three Lizard Gang She’s giving them all quite the scare!