Sunday, March 19, 2006

Site review 1

Taking advantage of the need for many aspiring graphic artists to obtain images to integrate into banners and avatars, has become one of the most popular venues for Neopets and Pokémon drawings, among caricatures and likenesses of other animé subjects as well. The FAQ tells us that the site is a transliteration (which I recognised right away as katakana) of 'starlight'.

Kuitsuku, the mascot for Suta-Raito. The FAQ states that it was a primary concept design for the Nutrinopets section of Neopets.
Photo provided by
Looking along the side of the page we are greeted with a link to the splash page (which is becoming a convention for sites formed by people like the webmaster of this site, probably because 'splashes' are just foretastes of what's to come and, in the case of art sites, an effective vehicle for the product), links to affiliate information (surprisingly, there's no PPN topsite link in sight), a tag board (which both contradicts the disclaimer that there's no interactive material on the site as stated in the FAQ and somehow resizes the main browser to the size of the tag board itself!), images and caricatures (the main product), and comedy material such as 'They'd Never Say', 'Oops!', and 'Wall of Shame'.

The Wall of Shame is a result of the images strictly being kept out of the public domain. Because there have been so many offences, it's become practice for the actual Neopets website to blacklist beauty contest entries that contain pictures taken from Suta-Raito or made with images from the site. Alongside those are blatant claims to the pictures, with some so raw that a link to Suta-Raito remains. And alongside those are pictures edited so poorly that it's rather easy to tell that they were taken from the site and redone in Paint. And alongside those are drawings that imitate Suta-Raito poses! The Wall of Shame blurs out the names of offenders due to a report that requested it, yet the webmaster adds comedy value by adding innuendo from her own red pen to screenshots of the offences.

Another item on the list to look at is 'Ask Piccolo'. It isn't real-time, so users will have to mail in their questions, but those that do have their questions answered alongside small caricatures of Piccolo (one is a result of him turning into a green Pikachu). Alongside this you'll find other animé elements, including outtakes and concocted interviews.

Finally we have the other site departments, which include the Oekaki (which, for some of you that have recently heard, is like a hybrid of Paint and mIRC) and a separate site called Sutaro (another katakana rendering!) in which you can commission art. Proceeds from commissions eventually fuel Suta-Raito's hosting.

Looking away from each individual page and focusing on the template, the blue skin (apparently one of many revises) definitely fits; it matches the drawings very well and coincides with the style of writing found throughout the site (in which you'll often find emoticons and a bit of over-emphasis). Despite the lack of interactive material, you'll keep going through it because of the upbeat environment and the comedy humour that you'll find in few other places.

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