Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, three!)

The Ten Days of Hate: Day Two!

Yesterday, I discussed the Cardcaptor Sakura franchise and explained why I find its heroine dull and uninteresting. Today we continue with Ten Things I Hate about Cardcaptor Sakura.

Number 9: The Characterization.

Many of the characters in Cardcaptor Sakura are supposed to be fourth-grade or fifth-grade children, all around ten years of age.

Not a one of them, and I mean not a single one, behaves anything at all like any real kid I’ve ever met. Ever.

“Utena can kiss my butt!”

As I mentioned in my lengthy review of Shugo Chara!, this is a common problem in manga and anime, so much so that there is oftentimes no apparent difference between kids who are supposed to be in high school, middle school, or elementary. I was surprised to learn halfway through Fairy Musketeers that the characters were supposed to be teenagers instead of prepubescent children, and I was surprised to learn halfway through the second volume of Sugar Sugar Rune that the characters were supposed to be prepubescent children instead of teenagers. Not only because of the exaggerated character designs typical of these artforms, but also because of what is often superficial or sloppy characterization, it can be hard to tell the difference. Continue reading “Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, three!)”

Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, too!)

The Ten Days of Hate: Day One!

When I discuss magical girls, I have certain go-to titles I like to mention as examples. Sailor Moon is the quintessential superheroine magical girl series. Revolutionary Girl Utena is the quintessential pretentious art-house magical girl series. Princess Tutu is the quintessential unexpectedly awesome magical girl series. Shugo Chara! is the just-plain quintessential magical girl series.

And Cardcaptor Sakura is the quintessential overrated magical girl series.

A few weeks back, somebody asked me to elaborate on exactly what I dislike about the Cardcaptor Sakura franchise. I had thought about writing a post on the subject for some time … but realized I couldn’t fit it all in one post. So you get ten. For the next ten days or until I get bored, this is Ten Things I Hate about Cardcaptor Sakura … except I could only come up with nine, so we’re going to skip number four as a way of honoring Japanese superstition.

Of course, to be fair, I should probably mention that when I say I hate it, I mean I hate it with that special kind of hatred known only to fanboys. One of the writers of Battlestar Galactica, I forget which, once mentioned in an interview that a fan wrote him to say, “I hate this episode. I’ve watched it eight times, and I hate it more every time.” That’s fanboy hatred. I hate Cardcaptor Sakura, a magical girl title, with the hatred of a magical girl fanboy.

Cardcaptor Sakura, Master of the Outrageous Outfits.

A few months ago, I got into a discussion about Sakura with some dude on the Internet. He was not himself a magical girl aficionado, and he said that he had expected Sakura to be cloyingly saccharine and sappy, but was surprised to find it a competently produced and likable coming-of-age story. I replied to him that I thought Cardcaptor Sakura was sick and wrong, and that after I finished reading its first of two story arcs (comprising the first six collected volumes of the manga), I felt as if I’d just been groomed by a child molestor.

He replied, “Oh, yes. The story is about a loveable, sweet, innocent little girl completely surrounded by perverts.” I can imagine no better summary of this franchise. Continue reading “Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, too!)”

JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 27

Monday: Getting waterboarded by a magical girl is just another day in the life of Jake Blatowski!

JAKE AND THE DYNAMO

CHAPTER 27: MONDAY

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Dana put on her uniform, complete with the safety pins in her collar, the pen in her pocket, and the untied tie. While she stood sullenly by the front door, Mil gave her several kisses and tousled her ratty hair. She endured it with a silent scowl.

“Oh dear, Mommy didn’t get to make your lunch today,” Mil said, tutting. “I guess you’ll have to eat the school lunch … well, I suppose it’s all right. It’s only one day.”

Dana grumbled.

Mil bit her lip. “Just … I don’t know, just try not to eat anything that looks over-processed.”

Dana made a faint growling noise.

“Like, no ketchup. It’s full of corn syrup. And no chicken nuggets or anything. There’s no part of a chicken called the ‘nugget.’”

Dana rolled her eyes. “Can I go now?”

“Of course, sweetie. Walk with Jake, okay?”

Dana grumbled again. Continue reading “JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 27”

Art: Featuring Gosick

Ah, Gosick. This was one of my favorite anime at one point, and I was really sad when Crunchyroll lost the rights and took it down. I’m glad I got to watch the whole series before that happened. I reviewed the show once at my old site.

The premise of Gosick is simple: what if you took Sherlock Holmes and Watson, and replaced them with Taiga and Ryuji from Toradora?

The result is pretty poor as a Gothic mystery series, but not bad as far as anime teen rom-com goes. It’s basically a poor man’s Toradora with the mood of Rozen Maiden. But it came from Studio BONES, so the production values are quite high, and the atmospherics and personable characters make up for the lousy murder mysteries. It flunks in the research department, featuring automatic elevators and phones with “disconnect” signals … in the 1920s (not to mention southern Europeans who think black hair is weird). It also wreaks inexcusable havoc on the history of World War II.

But, hey, I love the protagonists. This and Toradora were the two major inspirations for the relationship between Jake and Dana in Jake and the Dynamo.

Signal Boost: ‘No Gods, Only Daimons’

No Gods, Only Daimons is the new military dungeon punk novel from Hugo-nominated author Kai Wai Cheah, who happens to be in my writers’ group.

Cheah is a military veteran, so he knows his stuff. He writes technically dense military action told through rapid, clipped sentences. He has both a vast knowledge of his material and an excellent command of his prose.

The post-World War III world is a radically different place where magic and technology have become one in the violent struggle for global influence between nations. The rising powers of Persia and Musafiria are challenging the longtime dominance of the weakened Western powers, as the increasing use of magic provides them with a more level playing field.

Supernatural creatures from other planes are summoned and wielded as readily as machine guns and explosives by the special forces of the rival militaries, the most deadly of which are the elite contractors for the Nemesis Program. Both conventionally and unconventionally trained, the Nemesis Program is the hidden blade of the Hesperian National Intelligence and Security Agency, a weapon as lethal as it is deniable. But although they are given considerable leeway, not even Nemesis operatives are allowed to covenant with archdaimons… which poses a serious problem for Luke Landon when a simple assassination of a scientist goes badly awry.

NO GODS, ONLY DAIMONS is the first volume of The Covenant Chronicles, an exciting new supernatural Mil-SF series by Kai Wai Cheah, the Hugo-nominated author of “Titan Strike.”