A Prayer to the Moon Princess on this Day of Darkness

Your Majesty,

On this day when your orb covers the disc of the sun, may we remember those virtues of love and justice for which you fought, and may we remain always true to the Silver Millennium.

Don’t look straight at it, you idiots.

May we remember not to look directly at yon eclipse, lest we be blinded by your majesty. And may we remember not to use those glasses we got off Amazon, for lo, they are fake.

I hope those aren’t from Amazon.

And speaking of amazons, we pray that on this day, you will not allow that Dead Moon Circus, once imprisoned by your mother, to be released by the phlebotinum of yon solar eclipse. Or, if you do allow it, that you totally kick their butts forthwith.

Uh oh.

And lead us not into temptation, especially the temptation to make out with any alicorn ponies that might appear to us during this eclipse, even though that would be kind of hot.

Dammit, loli, you stole my husbando.

And may your Crystal Tokyo come, and your ten-century reign over the Solar System, that we may live long lives of peace and sugar-free cake, at least until your daughter completely screws things up.

Amen.

But do something about your architectural scheme because, I mean, really.

Something Eternal: The ‘Revolutionary Girl Utena’ Rewatch, Part 9

The bird is fighting its way out of the egg. The egg is the world. Whoever wishes to be born must destroy a world. The bird is flying to God. The god is named Abraxas.

—Herman Hesse, Demian

Revolutionary Girl Utena, episode 9: “The Castle Said to Hold Eternity.” Directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara. Character designs by Chiho Saito. Be-Papas, 1997 (Nozomi Entertainment, 2011). Approx. 24 minutes. Rated “16+.”

Watch for free here.

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In this episode, after two weeks of filler, we return to the main plot. The first story arc, known as the “Student Council Saga,” is drawing rapidly to its conclusion. In this episode, the basics of the show’s underlying mystery are laid before us, though that might not be obvious to someone who hasn’t already watched the whole show through.

Saionji returns. He’s still something of a joke character, but he plays an important role in this episode. We now learn that there’s more to Saionji’s obsession with Anthy than had at first been apparent.

Continue reading “Something Eternal: The ‘Revolutionary Girl Utena’ Rewatch, Part 9”

Art

Featured image: “Crystemsabrus” by MetalPandora.

I’m copping out on the posting for today because I’m struggling to rewrite sections of Jake and the Dynamo. But things are still coming along.

Also, when I’m not doing that, I’m sometimes working my way through LoliRock, so we can say we hit all the French magical girl cartoons over here.

So have some LoliRock fan art.

On Waifus

A debate has raged—raged, I say—in our combox on the subject of waifus.

What is a waifu? And how many waifus may a man have?

The first question is easily answered. As explained by Know Your Meme, the word waifu entered the parlance of English-speaking otaku largely on account of the popular anime adaptation of Azumanga Daioh, an irreverent and plotless slice-of-life story originally created as a four-panel comic strip by Kiyohiko Azuma. Azumaga Daioh is more-or-less the origin of the deservedly reviled CGDCT (cute girls doing cute things) genre of manga and anime, though it is considerably less putrid than many of its imitators. In one of Azuma’s comic strips, later adapted into an anime episode, the girls find a photograph of a beautiful lady, which fell from the pocket of their creepy pedo schoolteacher. When the girls ask the identity of the woman in the picture, the creepy teacher replies, in mutilated English, “Mai waifu,” that is, “My wife.” Continue reading “On Waifus”

#WaifuWednesday

Featuring Sailor Jupiter!

Today’s Waifu Wednesday is dedicated to Makoto Kino, also known as Sailor Jupiter. Sailor Jupiter is best pony.

Naoko Takeuchi originally intended the character to be a sukeban (that is, a girl gangster), but later dropped that idea. Nonetheless, Makoto retains some sukeban-like characteristics, including an intimidating air and a longer skirt.

Allegedly, she’s enormous and intimidates people with her bulk, though she actually has the same Barbie doll build as every other girl in Sailor Moon and doesn’t appear to stand more than a couple of inches taller.

Makoto likes flowers, cooking, and boys. In the anime, she also studies Kung fu. The anime also turns her general boy-craziness into a running gag: most every male she meets reminds her of her senpai.

She has super strength, and she’s a pretty good fighter even when not transformed. As a sailor, she can fire bolts of lightning, and she can allegedly control weather, though she apparently sucks at it.

But that’s okay, because no matter what, she’s still best sailor scout.

Chibi Dynamo!

Roffles Lowell, the official illustrator of Jake and the Dynamo, is hard at work on the interior illustrations for volume 1. He sends along this image of Magical Girl Pretty Dynamo completing her transformation sequence, and he invited me to post it, since he has a different picture intended for the book itself.

Meanwhile, I’m hard at work making the changes recommended to me by L. Jagi Lamplighter. I have a window of one week before I’m back at school, and I hope to get it finalized in that time.

Drawn Like My French Girls: ‘Miraculous Ladybug’

Les filles magiques de la France sont les meilleures filles magiques, non?

Miraculous Ladybug (a.k.a. Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir). Directed by Thomas Astruc. Written by Fred Lenoir, Matthieu Choquet, et al. Zagtoon, Method Animation, and Toei Animation, 2015-2016. 26 episodes of 22 minutes (approx. 9.5 hours). Rated TV-Y7.

Available on Netflix.

For over a decade, probably the most successful magical girl title from outside Japan has been the Italian cartoon Winx Club, a dungeon-punkish hot mess that’s like a cross between Harry Potter, Tinkerbell, and Sailor Moon. But within the last few years, France has gotten into the act with at least two strong contenders, LoliRock and Miraculous Ladybug. We’ll discuss the former some other time, but we’ll discuss the latter right now. A French magical girl cartoon rendered in CGI, Miraculous Ladybug is known in some countries (including the U.S.) under the more cumbersome title of Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir.

Le City of ze Lights et les girls de majeeks, oh ho ho ho!

Continue reading “Drawn Like My French Girls: ‘Miraculous Ladybug’”

Once This Week Is Over, I’m Gonna Binge-Watch ‘Flip Flappers,’ ‘Made in Abyss,’ and ‘Sailor Moon S’

In case you’re wondering where I’ve been lately, I’m entering the last week of the summer school term, so I’ve been too busy to post regularly, or to keep up with current news in magical girls.

All my assignments are due by Friday. Once that day of reckoning comes, I’m going to sit down with Lamplighter’s notes on Jake in the Dynamo, make the necessary changes, and prepare a submission package. Once I have the art from Lowell, off it goes.

So once we reach the end of the week, I’ll start having some more reviews and essays for all y’all. We’ll definitely continue with Revolutionary Girl Utena and watch the second half of Sailor Moon S, at the very least.

Also, I noticed a couple of months back that my brief posts on the artwork from Made in Abyss were getting a lot of hits. This is because the animated adaptation is getting streamed on Amazon Strike. I’ll probably check it out as soon as it finishes its run; I don’t have time to follow it in real time.

As I had suspected it would when I saw some of the related art, the manga is also seeing an English translation, which I believe will be coming from Seven Seas Entertainment.

Also, based on the buzz, it seems the storyline is more … gruesome … than the puni plush character designs implied. You’d think I’d be familiar with this trick by now, but I guess I got fooled.

I Can’t Get Enough of These

I know these aren’t new, but I only just saw them. They’re new to me, so maybe they’re new to you.

Apparently, this Bad Lip Reading guy started doing this because his mother went deaf, so he tried imitating her skill at lip-reading and found he was genuinely bad at it. He claims he actually comes up with his gibberish lyrics and dialogue simply by following lip movements with the sound off.

I believe him. Writing stuff this goofy would be hard to do intentionally. His humor has a genuine stream-of-consciousness sound to it.

He’s actually a talented musician as well as an amazing video editor.

The State of the ‘Jake and the Dynamo’ Project

Featured image: “Dazzling Bijou” by puddinprincess.

I have my notes back from L. Jagi Lamplighter, who graciously agreed to provide editing services for Jake and the Dynamo. She tells me that she and John C. Wright both found the book very funny, but she also made some incisive criticisms pointing out how it could be improved.

Writers in my circle had praised Lamplighter for her abilities as an editor, which is one of the reasons I had hoped she’d take me on. The praise was accurate; I had heard with the hearing of the ear, but now mine eyes have seen. She has an excellent command of story mechanics, and she knows exactly how to pinpoint problems precisely while at the same time framing her criticisms broadly enough to leave the author maximal freedom to work. On top of that, she criticizes in such a gracious style that she short-circuits the “you’re kicking my baby” response, which can be the knee-jerk reaction of some writers, especially newbs. Upon reading her advice, instead of the dismay I might normally feel when having my shortcomings explained to me, I felt an eagerness to get back to work.

Most of the changes she requested are minor, and she said I could probably make them in a single sitting. I think that would be one of her sittings, but it’s likely to take three or four of mine.

I have not had much time to write this summer as I’m currently working while getting a master’s degree in half the usual time. However, my summer term ends in two weeks, and then I’ll have a two-week break from schooling. That’s when I plan to make all the edits, put together a submission package, and get this sent off.

Lamplighter urged me to contact the editor of a particular press I probably shouldn’t name in a post yet. She said she’s already pitched my book there, and that the publisher is interested. That’s no guarantee of anything, of course, but it’s encouraging. I originally started this novel as a lark and expected to self-publish, but if an indie press wants to pick it up, that would be great.

I have my fingers crossed that the as-yet-unnamed publisher might be interested in not only the novel, but also the illustrations by Roffles Lowell—which he is hard at work on and has shown me preliminaries to prove it. I hired Lowell when self-publishing was still the plan, and I’ll be sure that he gets compensated and gets his work displayed one way or the other, but it would be awesome if I could convince a publisher that this is a light novel and thus needs illustrations. Obviously, an indie publisher such as the one to which I’ll be submitting is more likely to be persuaded on this than a big-name publisher, who would laugh contemptuously at any author who submitted illustrations with his written work.

I like working with Lowell, and I like seeing what he produces. We’re both newbs, so if we could break into the market together, that would be cool.

Since I’m now planning to submit to a publisher, I think it best if I put a halt to the web postings of the novel at least until I have publication matters squared away. Thus, the book is now on indefinite hiatus, for real this time.

If I end up self-publishing as originally planned, I’ll go back to posting the chapters here, but if I’m going to be publishing through a publisher, I should stop posting chapters for free consumption until further notice.

I’m not going to take down the already-published chapters (unless instructed to), but I don’t plan to add any more for the time being. Besides, as noted, I have no more to post at the moment, as I simply haven’t had much time to produce them.

On top of that, I’m going to be changing the way I tell this story anyway. My original intention was to write the whole thing and dump it on Amazon Kindle, but having realized that I have multiple novels’ worth of material, I’d like to switch gears. I will be (at Lamplighter’s recommendation) rewriting chapter 19 to make a better conclusion to volume 1, and then I’m going to take stock of chapters 20 and beyond to see how I can better shape them into a self-contained book. Now that I’m doing this as a series instead of one giant novel, I wish to ensure that each volume has its own complete arc, so I’ll probably be rearranging plot elements.

That’s all for now. Jake and the Dynamo is on hiatus, but the reviews and essays will continue until morale improves.