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Aikida

First Appearance

July 21, 2001

Created by

Josh Meinzer

Origin[]

Aikida is a webcomic by Canadian Josh "Fenris" Meinzer. It launched on July 21, 2001, and currently updates on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule.

The strip follows the adventures of Aikida Kishiro, a woman of Irish and Japanese descent, who recently has discovered that she is also of demonic heritage. In the earlier strips, the comic was about a full cast of characters, including Wade McBob, Sidney Soufflé, and Morgan Frost, however, Meinzer decided to restructure the comic in favor of focusing on the comic's namesake.

Meinzer makes a living from Aikida, placing him in a very small group of webcomic artists devoted to their creations full-time. Donations are the primary way Aikida makes money, and in order to encourage this, Meinzer offers wallpaper, posters, and nude art as incentive for large donations. The website attracts roughly 5,000 visitors a day. Over the years the comic has gone from being poor pencil sketches, to evolving into a well drawn colored strip.

Originally, the strip featured three characters, and dealt exclusively with video games, a concept that never sat particularly well with Meinzer, who was not happy "being a Penny Arcade knockoff". As time went on, Meinzer developed backstories for all of the major characters, and a storyline romance between Aikida and Wade, which culminated in a break-up in May 2003. The break-up coincided with the decline of the comic itself, which would be canceled in September 2003 after a long period of guest and filler comics.

What followed was a long hiatus, during which Meinzer worked on another strip called Pepperwood. The strip was done only in pencil, but featured better drawings and character development. Meinzer has repeatedly stated that he enjoyed working on it. Unfortunately, it was not nearly as popular as Aikida was, so he eventually dropped it and restarted Aikida on May 2004. However, occasionally Meinzer brings Pepperwood references into his comics, for fans of Pepperwood. He also has received many requests to make an archive of Pepperwood comics, which he has only done for the first four strips.

Aikida restarted with a controversial storyline that dealt with Aikida realizing she had demonic heritage, and coming to terms both with that and her relationship with Wade and Sydney. During that time, the characters Eleanor Saraccino and Matt were introduced as demon hunters whose job was to hunt down Aikida. The pair's parallel to Aikida and Wade was quite obvious, though, and the characters were not well-received. Despite this, Meinzer eventually brought both of them into the new storyline.

In September, 2005, Meinzer announced that he was going to totally revamp Aikida, with a new fantasy storyline. The storyline would be heavily plot and character driven, with greatly improved art and direction, which Meinzer felt would finally take the comic out of the shadow of other webcomics. The storyline dealt with Aikida awakening in the world of Risia, with no memories of her previous life. At first, this seemed like a cheap way to get a new setting with an old character, but as the strip continued, it was revealed that Meinzer had not thrown away the old continuity, as multiple characters appeared, who also were in the original continuity. While Aikida is the only character to have had a verifiable flashback to the original continuity, there are notable character similarities to the old setting (e.g., Kassandra's previous marriage with Wade, Eleanor and Matt still being demon hunters in hunt of Aikida). While many of these can be seen as direct tie-ins to the old setting, people have argued that they are not tie-ins, but simply parallels. Whether Meinzer eventually intends to return to the old setting or not is a complete mystery.

See Also[]

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