The inspiration for this issue is on page 7. Originally, it was a throwaway gag where Rhapsody and Melody are swimming and come across a cloud of octopi. Although the duo didn't do anything threatening, the octopi reacted to their presence by inking them. I decided to do a little reading on octopi, seeing how little I knew about them. Like most people, I know, as Ratzo and his Howling Band Of Cephalopods point out, they can open jars and are very intelligent. Part of my reading turned up the octopi play -- scientists have seen them passing seaweed among each other using the currents of the water filtration systems in their tanks (this is why, when scientists discovered in December of 2009 that octopi use tools, taking two halves of a discarded coconut sell and making a sort of house out of it, I wasn't surprised). As I read up, I was starting to think of more stuff to incorporate as page-filler gags when I ran across the part about the octopus reproductive cycle, and how the eggs hatching more or less starts the clock ticking for the parents. The story started evolving from that point, and the results are Sound Waves #4.
This was the story where I started to realize what I had initially started as a simple lark to just do some shoujo had developed into its own little world.
This became my favorite issue for a while (it was eventually eclipsed by #10). I feel this comes closest to one of the things I love so much about anime -- that it can shift moods as the story requires. It can swing from comedy to drama to pathos to relief, sometimes within a single installment, if that is what the crew feels works for the story. The issue goes from happy in-the-moment to comedy to pathos when everyone realizes the octopi in the camp are dying and why they came there in the first place. The biggest challenge was trying to keep the transitions realistic, so that everything flowed instead of feeling like a cheap manipulation stunt.
That said, the issue still has some of my favorite comedy bits. Melody's reaction to her parents' display of affection, for example, always makes me laugh. The pantomime when Rhapsody and Laminar's conversation is interrupted by a passing octopus, where she literally vanishes between panels. Rhapsody hyping when she realizes there might be an octopus under the rock she is hiding behind (and Melody's deadpan reaction). But my favorite bit is still where they get inked, and the resulting exchange between them. As I've said before, I think it's important to show Rhapsody and Melody getting pissed at each other at least once in a while, to show that they are two distinct individuals. Rhapsody's sarcasm and Melody's annoyance with it remains one of my favorite moments
The original title for the story, by the way, was "Eight Arms To Hold You."