This thing’s been on hiatus because everything’s hit me at once over here. Life intervened, etc., etc. But I’m going to push to get chapter 19 shipshape by Monday one way or the other.
My editor, who’s been very enthusiastic about the project, was “meh” about the rough of chapter 19, which is why I wanted to put it away for a while and then come at it fresh. But I think it’s been long enough. He was also initially kind of “meh” about Chai Square, and I don’t know about anyone else, but I, at least, am happy about how that part ultimately turned out.
Alien Nine, story and art by Hitoshi Tomizawa. CPM Manga, 1999. 3 volumes. Rated Age 16+.
Alien Nine is that deceptive kind of manga I like, the kind that starts out looking cute and then grows darker and grimmer. Although its premise suggests a target audience of children and it has a simple and cutesy style, this actually appeared in a seinen magazine, that is, one for adult men. Originally running from 1998 to 1999 and filling three volumes, it in 2003 saw a one-volume sequel, Alien Nine: Emulators. There is also a four-episode OVA adaptation. The OVA only managed to cover half the story before it ran out of money, but is nonetheless a cult classic.
The story revolves around three twelve-year-old girls obliged to protect their elementary school from hordes of goofy little aliens by trapping those aliens and then maintaining them in a vast zoo (or prison) on the school grounds. After introducing this absurd premise, Alien Nine grows steadily more gruesome and violent as the aliens grow more dangerous, until it descends into angst and body horror. By depicting creature-catching as less than it’s cracked up to be, it may be considered a subversion or deconstruction—or whatever the kids are calling it these days—of Pokémon and similar brands.
I didn’t quite finish my review of Alien Nine, so you’ll have to wait another day for your dose of rollerblades and eldritch abominations. I really want to unpack the concepts here, so I’ll take a little time with this one.
I just recently finished reading that cult classic of manga about deceptive cuteness and body horror, Alien Nine, which, sadly, was never completely adapted into an anime because the OVA series ran out of money midway through. I should probably have a review up tomorrow, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around its allegory … something about sex being terrifying. And funny hats.
It contains spoilers, of course, for the anime in question.
Let us stretch the parallels one step further. Before nirvana, all consciousness are born, die, and reborn as beings in the six domains of the Desire realm: God realm, Asura realm, Human realm, Animal realm, Preta realm, and Hell realm. This is the wheel of life, the place where Samsāra occurs.
It is surprisingly neat how the characters in Madoka Magica fit into these realms. For example, the deva that occupy the blissful God realm are way more powerful than beings in all other realms. Among their powers include a sort of telepathy and illusion construction. Moreover, one particular class of deva are passionless and sexless. Indeed, this seems a bit reminiscent of Kyubey. [more…]
Once again, we have to skip a chapter of SourcererZZ’s extensive history of magical girl anime because of copyright claims. This time, Pony Canyon is the culprit. So we pass over the years 2002 to 2003 and head to 2004, a big year for the genre.
As an update on my end, chapter 19 of Jake and the Dynamo is drafted and I’m currently working on chapter 20. I’d like to have five chapters in draft form before I begin posting them again, but we’ll see how that goes.
My schedule is likely to get very busy very soon. I’m likely looking at two jobs plus schooling. I’ll keep writing, but I can promise nothing in regards to speed.
This was originally posted in slightly different form on a different site in 2014.
Who deconstructs the deconstructionists?
Yuki Yuna Is a Hero. Directed by Kishi Seiji. Starring Haruka Terui, Juri Nagatsuma, and Suzuko Mimori. Studio Gokumi, 2014. Twelve episodes of 24 minutes (approx. 290 minutes). Unrated. Available online.
I am a confessed heroine addict, and thus I sometimes watch mahou shoujo, that peculiarly Japanese genre of fantasy translated as “magical girl.” I have just finished watching the recently completed twelve-part magical girl series Yuki Yuna Is a Hero, a mostly amusing but sometimes frustrating exercise in audience chain-yanking. Though it is a competent story in its own right, it can’t be fully appreciated without a general knowledge of what’s been happening in the magical girl genre of late, most especially 2011’s Puella Magi Madoka Magica, with which Yuki Yuna is in dialogue, so bear with me. It is also impossible to give more than a cursory discussion of either Puella Magi Madoka Magica or Yuki Yuna Is a Hero without spoilers, so be warned: spoilers lie ahead. Continue reading “Anime Review: ‘Yuki Yuna Is a Hero’”