JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Now on Audio! Teaser and Chapter 1

It’s the near future, and most of the universe has decided that humanity needs to die! But fortunately for us, the forces of goodness have given us a small advantage in the war for our existence … by transforming random children into magical girls!

When the nefarious Dark Queen sends yet another of her weekly monstrosities to wreak havoc on the city of Urbanopolis, it’s up to magical girls Card Collector Kasumi, Grease Pencil Marionette, and Tuneless Ramona to stop the marauding mutant! Will they save the day, or are they destined to become pink and sparkly casualties?

Find out in Jake and the Dynamo Chapter 1, now with one hundred percent less eyestrain!

Big thanks to Unclever Hans, who put this together for me. I’m just glad somebody else is reading this. My written vocabulary is significantly larger than my spoken vocabulary. If I were reading this myself, I’d not only drone like a college professor, but mispronounce words right and left.

I Just Magical-Girled Your Steampunkish Sword and Sorcery Game

Well, I mean, I didn’t do it, but …

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a gamer, so this escaped my attention until yesterday. The hugely popular multiplayer online arena combat game League of Legends has gone magical girl.

So I saw an advertisement for something called “Star Guardians.” The ad consisted of a brief but intriguing video involving lush artwork and decent animation depicting a team of five magical girls fighting monsters, followed by a website address. I said to myself, “What is this?” Then I followed the link.

And then, about thirty minutes later, I said to myself, “No, seriously, WTF is this?” In spite of the probably expensive advertising campaign, they didn’t exactly make this thing accessible to outsiders. Continue reading “I Just Magical-Girled Your Steampunkish Sword and Sorcery Game”






Five blocks north of Jake’s house, the residences of Juban gave way to shops and strip malls. The shopping district was a tidy, modern section of town with wide sidewalks and glassed-in storefronts, and it even boasted several parking lots, since an unusually large number of Juban’s residents owned cars. At nine forty-five on Saturday morning, Jake walked up the street and, with his hands in the pockets of a blue windbreaker, loitered on a corner. He had a few loose coins in his pocket, the only money left after the night before.

He knew he was in trouble. Continue reading “JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 20”

‘Magical Girl Raising Project,’ Episode 3

Magical Girl Raising Project, episode 3, “Update Notice!” Directed by Hiroyuki Hashimoto. Studio Lerche. Produced by Genco (2016). Approx. 24 minutes. Rated PG-13. Available on Crunchyroll.

This third episode is still low key and maintains the deliberate pacing, but the premise, at least, is now fully established. It also appears that the most important players are already on the board, though we know one more magical girl will be added in the future; I assume that’s HardGore Alice, who was in some promotional material but hasn’t shown up yet.

This episode is fairly simple. We see a few vignettes of characters doing various things, but the most important part of the episode is the girls’ discovery that to cease being a magical girl is to die, which means one of them is going to die every week for the next seven weeks until Fav reduces their number to what he considers acceptable. Continue reading “‘Magical Girl Raising Project,’ Episode 3”

The Only ‘Revolutionary Girl Utena’ Review You Need to Watch

(And, as a courtesy, I mention that the language here is Not Safe for Work, though if you have a job where you can read magical girl blogs while you’re working … I want your job. No, seriously, I want your job. Where do you work? If my boss caught me reading magical girl blogs, I’d be out on my ear.)

Majestic seahorses!!!

Since this blog is going full Utena until further notice … no, I’m kidding. Never go full Utena. But since this blog is going very Utena until further notice, I invite you to watch the video “Redundancy Girl Utena” by sudoStef.

It begins as a humor piece in which he mocks the show’s repetitious use of the transformation sequence, also known as “Utena Ascending a Staircase No. 2.” Repetitious transformation sequences in mahou shoujo used to be the norm, back when anime recycled as much animation as possible. More recently, it’s gone out of fashion.

Personally, I disagree with sudoStef. Usually, when a magical girl starts transforming, that’s my cue to get up and get another beer. But I never get tired of Utena’s, probably because I ignore the repetitious animation and just headbang to the music.

At the end of the video, and the reason I’m posting it, he does a fine job of presenting an insightful interpretation, coming at it from an angle I hadn’t thought of. I am mostly interested in Utena‘s Gnostic metaphysics and epistemology, which it acquires from Hesse’s Demian. But sudoStef is interested in what we might call its politics, and he does an excellent job of linking the ambiguous conclusion back to the various characters’ machinations and backstabbing and social climbing.

He even does it without spoilers, though as he admits, that means that unless you’ve seen it yourself, you won’t know what he’s talking about. But for me at least, this gives another way to view it.


God Is Dead and Men Are Pigs: The ‘Revolutionary Girl Utena’ Rewatch, Part 1


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 1: “The Rose Bride.” Directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara. Character designs by Chiho Saito. Be-Papas, 1997 (Nozomi Entertainment, 2011). Approx. 24 minutes. Rated “16+.”


Anime fans can have short memories. It is to be expected: shows come out, have a brief run, and then go away. Unless a fan snatches up a hard copy during the often short window of its printing, it disappears off the market or its cost rockets up to a collector’s price. Older stuff is on laserdisc or VHS and nigh inaccessible unless there is a re-release.

Probably for that reason, 2011’s Puella Magi Madoka Magica gets credit from a lot of fans for its “deconstructive” character, and they call it the “Neon Genesis Evangelion of magical girl anime.” But there is an earlier title I believe is more deserving of that honor, a title closer to Evangelion in time and theme, and which also had some of the same staff. That show is Revolutionary Girl Utena, brainchild of Kunihiko Ikuhara, who had previously been one of the most important directors to work on Sailor MoonUtena is, in spite of a decidedly uneven presentation and the hampering of a shoestring budget, easily one of the greatest anime of all time.  For reasons I’ll defend later, I daresay it out-Evangelions even Evangelion. Continue reading “God Is Dead and Men Are Pigs: The ‘Revolutionary Girl Utena’ Rewatch, Part 1”


“It is friendship that unites us, friendship that defines us, friendship for which we fight. But the time will come when every magical girl must face her final boss—and that, she must face alone.”

—Grease Pencil Marionette

I’m reasonably pleased with the current state of the draft of chapter 20 of Jake and the Dynamo, which for some reason is longer than any of the other chapters thus far. I’ll be passing it on to my writer’s group shortly.

In this long-awaited chapter, Jake’s girlfriend Chelsea finally makes her appearance.  No guarantees that the following passage will actually be in the final draft of the chapter, or whether it will be in this form, but anyway, here we go.

I don’t know what anyone else thinks, but I think Chelsea’s hilarious. Continue reading “Previews!”