coming across as an asshole is a given when you criticize someone.
the first anime person used the image as a reference, this is the proper way to use a photo you have when you want to make something of it and not just trace, what you did was more akin to a study, and we can both agree it didn't turn out great. his was the nicer image, your was the more accurate one. I think that instead of posting your work as proof, bring the reference and his into a program and draw lines between where major changes were made would be a better way to go. god knows I shit my skill away over the years due to injury and I would be hard pressed to make something as good as yours, I know, shocking to see someone admit to that, but the knowledge doesn't really go away, and even in cases where someone who draws like shit, its likely, unless heavily deluded, know where to improve and where they fucked up, and can likely crit other works.
I'm not sure were the cutoff point is, but I know a lot of masters have issues getting crits because after a certain level, the only way to crit a work is to be on that level or above... right now, with what was in that thread, we are not near that level yet.