With Act 6 Act 6, Hussie’s taking Homestuck to new levels of fourth wall breakage, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 1 flash animation. Its beauty and sheer awesomeness rivals Cascade in places, and draws you even more into the story, quite excellent considering we’ve been on a two-month break. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
- First of all, if you navigate to the A6A6I1 page, it doesn’t look at first like there are any more pages. The link to the next page is farther down, and you get too involved in the animation right away to question it, so you assume this is the only page that’s been released. In archive binging, this will be a dead giveaway as to what will happen, but here it provides the added effect that a single long flash was what was intended, but circumstances require Hussie to advance the narrative following it in an unconventional manner.
- The first hint that this flash is not normal is the meteor; its tail rotates so far as to leave the panel, and the meteor only gets bigger from there. It takes a few seconds to register this, but the tail overlaps the “ACT 6 ACT 6 INTERMISSION 1” text at the top, so your attention is drawn there (and away from the sound icon, which quickly moves to the top left corner of the screen).
- Like with Cascade, you may at first be frustrated that your screen can’t see the whole thing at once. Unlike Cascade, I think this animation was very much designed with that in mind. The panel moves down the screen but stays the same size, so you have to scroll to keep up with it. The meteor stays on the screen at this point, so it seems to have left the realm of the panel, like it’s actually physically on the MSPA web page. (Jade does the same thing several seconds later.)
- Once the panel showing Skaia settles, the meteor occupies another, thinner panel on top of it. This is a familiar setup from Doc Scratch’s narration towards the end of Act 5, and you might think you can relax with the scrolling. You’d be wrong. The panels immediately start growing vertically again, and Jade breaks out of the panels to appear in front of it, very appropriate for a character who has the powers of a First Guardian.
- Those two panels widen vertically until they’re too wide to fit on a standard computer screen. This fits nicely into a transition to a single, extremely tall panel of Earth, and now we’re in full Cascade territory, where we know the panel exists, but it’s too big for us to see the whole thing. Of course, panels are still a part of the animation, because the meteor exits a smaller panel on the top left corner. So we have panels-within-panels, and even that one isn’t stationary or staying the same size.
- Then there’s a very thin panel of Jade riding the meteor, which quickly conveys a sense of speed, and brings a nice break of emptiness to the page. Jade leaves that panel; another one appears after it that’s about a normal size. You scroll up to keep this one centered, too.
- Hussie plays into that scroll, because that’s where everything starts glitching, and the animation borders get really apparent. These are neither consistent from glitch to glitch, nor do they reach the border of the true animation, which is lower, but they are right at the edges of your monitor based on where you last scrolled to.
All along the way, Hussie is playing with the panels to give a sense that these characters inhabit a four-dimensional world, which sometimes breaks into the webpage itself. Rather than just being a cool gimmick, this sets up the idea that Caliborn’s messing with the game cartridge does have the power to physically alter the world of Homestuck itself. Since it has been hinted previously that Lord English might only be able to be defeated with glitches, this flash could be a very important setup.