UPDATE: April 18th, 2018>Yes, I am aware that information has been released showing that the man celebrated in this article is not worthy of that praise. That he turned out to be a sexual predator with two known cases of “grooming” or sexual assault. This has been a huge blow to his friends and fans who followed, supported, and loved him unaware of who and what he really was. However, as further explained in this commentary, I have opted to leave this as was to showcase why he developed that fan following as evidence that being famous and popular doesn’t make you a good person. Be as weary of them as you would anyone else. My hope is that someone will be inspired by the heart and effort put into making these video the best he and his friends could and will use their celebrity for positive pursuits instead of manipulating and violating innocent women. It is both a warning and a call to be the type of people you think your heroes are, even if they do not hit the mark. If you don’t want to continue on I completely understand, but this was a tribute to his work, not the man himself and if any good can come of this is that suicide and sexual predators are both things we need to be aware of and work to prevent and protect ourselves from.
If any links are dead, they will stay that way. I never took the time to replace them after Blip went down and have no intention of doing so now under the circumstances. The rest of this article is left as I originally wrote it but remember that it is the work I’m praising, and not the man who made them.
This is a tough one for me. Usually, “Internet Spotlight” features the work of a video producer or webcomic that you need to check out. The hope is that more people will find out about his/her/their work and will help encourage them to make more or make a career out of doing something they love. It’s part of BW’s mission to promote things I want to see more of not in place of things I don’t like but alongside them for people like me. Sadly, that isn’t the case here. Instead, it’s a memorial. Since the Saturday Night Showcase is currently memorializing part of my childhood and writing influence, this will be a long article with a lot of video content. So I’ll put the important stuff before the jump.
On Saturday, January 25, 2014, fans of Justin Carmical, know as “JewWario” or “J-Dub” learned that he was dead, a result of a self-inflicted gunshot resulting from suicide on Thursday. To say that people were devastated is putting it mildly. Carmical had suffered with depression, according to someone I know who had seen his live streams during the week. However, as late as Monday night, where he took over for the co-host of the “What The #$@# Is Wrong With You” segment of Radio Dead Air, a live music and video broadcast produced and VJed by Nash Bozard, In fact, I was watching a recording of that segment while word was starting to trickle on Twitter that he was dead. It was surreal hearing reports of his passing while listening to his voice on the broadcast making fun of the weird and often anger-inducing news stories Nash breaks out every week, and the stories were surprisingly mild that week.
I can’t say that JewWario and I were friends. Sometimes he responded to something I tweeted and I am friends with a couple of his friends but otherwise I never met the man in person…although I really wanted to. I would hear all these stories about how awesome he was to know, how he had no bad words for anyone…in fact the opposite, he would go out of his way to make you feel like one of the most special people on Earth. His passing has brought out more stories, photographs, and phone camera videos showing even more how sweet, kind, and possibly ironically full of life he was. It’s hard to imagine what demons plagued him or to imagine him in a state of mind where he would take his own life. Between live streams, appearances in other producers’ shows, and the many shows we’ll be showcasing tonight, plus the others I don’t have room for, all you can see is that smiling, animated face full of love, glee, and fun. Tonight I’m posting some of his best, or at least my favorite, work from one of the most beloved and popular men in the reviewing community. While there won’t be more, there’s still so much he left behind and by nature of this site, it’s the best tribute I can do. I didn’t fully know the man, but I knew his work and loved every moment of it.
His biggest claim to fame was You Can Play This, a guide to Japanese import games that you didn’t need to know Japanese to play. Where some translation was needed he provided it and sometimes there was a story you wouldn’t be able to follow (and if you know me by now you know a story I can’t read is disappointing but that’s besides the point) but he would provide the menu translations. Your still on your own with the stories. These games usually never had an English release but he still wanted you to play some really darn good games.
The episode I’m choosing for this one isn’t completely typical. While Carmical would occasionally take on the persona of Yanki J (more on him in the next video) to interact with here he took on the character of Jared from Labyrinth, as performed by David Bowie. This cosplay got him the “role” in Suburban Knights when Doug Walker had originally planned to put another actor in the costume. (Long story, but everyone wore fantasy character costumes and took on their personality traits because why not.) And yes, that’s an actual ball they produced. I saw the ads for it but never saw one in person.
I wasn’t into the movie because I’m not usually into the darker fantasies so I never watched it. But the review was still fun to watch. Sometimes it was a straight review, and sometimes characters like Jared, a recurring ghost girl character, or roommate Yanki J would get into the act.
Yanki J was popular enough to get his own series, Yanki J Plays. While similar to You Can Play This it featured games the JewWario character wouldn’t play and didn’t need as many instructions on how to play. The character was an American who grew up in Japan and was part of the “wrong crowd” in school. You know, like in Yu Yu Hakusho. For this one, Yanki plays a game that reminds him of his days in the Japanese gangs.
That was the thing about his characters. They had this other touching side as well as their tough sides. In a later appearance you’d learn more about J’s history being born and raised in Japan. It would later be shown that Yanki J had another reason for being there as part of an anniversary special I’ll mention as part of a different video. Instead I want to look at another of those secret heartfelt gags, Mario Monologues.
Based on a stand-up routine he performed at a local event, this follows Mario Mario talking about how frustrating life could be in the Mushroom Kingdom…until something happened that made him look at things in a different light. Being a Luigi fan, I want to focus on his tale with his younger brother and how he put up with him…and how it was the best thing for both of them! This also features something rare for his videos: cursing. His version of Mario has quite a potty mouth, especially compared to JewWario and even Yanki J.
His most recent series was Scan This!, a show he was so proud of he gave it his own website and merchandise. You could get a special card as you’ll see at the end of the video. The main review was Monster Rancher but the show usually was about games that scanned barcodes. This one scanned CDs instead. You’ll also see something that I’ll get into after the video that got me a lot more interested. This was the final episode he produced before leaving us, outside of a PS Vita TV review and guest appearances in other works.
Watching him do these barcode battles every week actually made me want to buy one of these games, perhaps even the Super Barcode Wars he uses because it looks fun to play. (You can see the review of that here.) Hopefully someone has one of those Super Barcode Wars systems and will take up the fight to finish Edward. He seemed vested in finding a product whose code could beat Twilight. I was even trying to come up with products to defeat Edward since every time he scanned the Twilight barcode he’d get different readings. While asking him about that on Twitter he said that some codes do have random stats. This was the limit of communication I had with him.Justin loved interacting with his fans, including a weekly livestream. I still want one of those Scan This cards. That’s not really possible now.
He was also good to his friends, like the Psychotaku in the fake ad, who he actually got a spot for on his own site. (He also did that for my Reviewers Unknown colleague the Gaming Pixie before she retired from video production.) That’s the kind of guy he was. He liked promoting cool stuff, and I think I related to that enough to watch his work.
However, there’s one production he didn’t get to create and it’s one we’ve discussed here at the Spotlight in a previous Internet Spotlight, FamiKamen Rider. Originally a review show focused on other Japanese media that spawned out of his anniversary adventures, Carmical had hoped to turn it into an actual tokusatsu-style web series and fans were so behind it he got well over his intended goal. That meant special guest stars from other reviewers and other idea. Sadly, there were numerous setbacks and now will never be completed, although there was talk about taking the footage that was shot and completing those episodes, but NOT continuing it past then because that wouldn’t be right. This was Justin Carmical’s dream and unlike the battle with Edward this should be his alone. We do have the interview shows, though. This one reviews a Kamen Rider tribute by Japanese music group Smap.
I wish I could have been able to answer his call for writers but I don’t have much of a resume outside of reviews and commentaries at this point. He was close to his fans, like I’ve said. That sword FamiKamen Rider is dreaming about? That’s an actual present from a fan, who made that himself. Actually, he received a lot of gifts from fans. They were close to him and he was close to him. He treated all his fans like friends and from what I’ve been hearing he treated his friends like family.
My favorite bit, however, was this music video he, his wife, and their friends did for I think some contest. They’re lip-syncing to Smashing Pumpkins’ 1979 and it looks like so much fun I want to join in. This made me like the song and when I watch it I often re-watch it.
There are so many other shows I could point to. He had a cooking show, a Q&A show, a gaming news commentary with one of his friends, a “let’s play” of horror games done in the dark, and numerous one-shots and crossovers. However, this article already has more videos than I’m use to. However, I want to post one last video. This comes from one of those streams and it was seriously making the rounds in the reviewing community over the weekend.
The rest of you, check out more of his work at his website.
Farewell, Justin. I never got to call you a friend, or even meet you, but I’ll always be a fan. One among many.