Emily is the last character to have concept art (though not the last I’m sharing here). in some ways her character is similar to O’Malley in that it means something less obvious that has made her harder to pin down.

there’s a gap in time between her art and the rest of the art as well. this summer has been a lot, and I sort of lost momentum on the visual side of things. her art wasn’t that hard to make in the end, it’s maybe a bit lazy. but it was hard to decide what it should be. I toyed for a long while with stuff like Amy Brown (who here is old enough to remember the Amy Brown section at Hot Topic????), or Sanrio. in the end though, I wanted Emily to be something that still had caché, something that has aged well with nostalgia. one of the real inspirations for Emily was literally the only person I have ever known to unironically owned a Dreamcast, so, Jet Set Radio it is.

Emily was always going to be something of an otaku. she comes from a long line of friends in my life who represent a certain kind of fandom girl, whether that fandom is Lord of the Rings, or Doctor Who, or Yu-Gi-Oh. Emily is the person who went and got a job just to pay for $30 anime DVDs and copies of Entertainment Weekly at Suncoast Video but then ended up actually liking her coworkers too.

she’s also the purest sort of fan. she just loves things and that’s enough. she doesn’t aspire to be an actress or a writer or a musician or even an Instagram-famous cosplayer, she just likes stuff and wants to talk about it. it feels like such a foreign idea today where every hobby or interest is hustlerized and liking things is an identity. maybe someday Emily gets into Star Trek needlepoint but she sure as hell won’t start an Etsy.

I find myself more excited to write Emily than most of these characters. Emily is, metaphorically, the only one of these characters who is still active in my life. There are a few Emilys who I text with near-daily who are some of my closest, oldest friends. when I began writing this, and began thinking about what I would actually do if I could relive that time, I mostly just wanted to hang out more with Emily. the crushes, the schoolwork, the hobbies, all of that I could take or leave, but I always need the Emilys.