No.

I will not be seeing Star Wars: The Last Mary Sue, just in case anyone might have thought to ask. The special editions deeply wounded my enthusiasm for Star Wars, and the prequels killed it. I don’t expect the House of Child Molestation Mouse to be capable of treating the franchise with any respect, and all the buzz I’ve heard about the sequels and spinoffs has been consistently negative.

The very fact that the sequels’ creators have decided to make Star Wars about Grrrl Power shows that they don’t understand the original films. Taking what is at heart a boys’ adventure serial and girl-powering it up is as tin-eared as redoing Ghostbusters with an all-female cast, or redoing Sailor Moon with an all-male cast.

And by the way, there is, in fact, a version of Sailor Moon with an all-male cast, but it’s done as a self-aware joke. That’s one of the differences between America and Japan: in Japan, they say, “Ha! We took your beloved franchise and gender-swapped it! Isn’t that FUNNY?” But in America, they say, “Ha! We took your beloved franchise and gender-swapped it! And if you don’t like it, you’re a BIGOT!”

I am reminded of an interview with Patrick Rothfuss from a few years back, in which he said he found it, and I quote, “fucking creepy” (these writers are so eloquent) that The Hobbit has no female characters in it. That’s where we’re at now; we have a generation that doesn’t simply dislike boys’ adventure fiction, but actually can’t comprehend it. He doesn’t merely say that he finds The Hobbit not to be his cup of tea; he finds it creepy. It’s an adventure story for boys about a group of boys who go on an adventure, and Rothfuss can’t wrap his head around it.

Similarly, I remember an argument I had a few years back with some bronies who were grousing that My Little Pony doesn’t have enough male characters in it. I patiently explained to them that it was a cartoon for little girls. They didn’t get it.

The original Star Wars trilogy is about a farmboy who discovers he’s a prince (of sorts) with a great destiny, and who rescues a princess and saves the galaxy. It’s a boys’ adventure story in space. Those who’ve tackled the franchise since then (Lucas himself included) don’t understand that, and they may be incapable of understanding that.

That’s where we’re at. Just look at this comment:

I especially love the part where he says the movie “backs love over hate” after saying it “mocks and burns down.” Note also that he says nothing about whether the film is well-written or well-directed or entertaining. All he cares about is whether he sees his politics in it.

Note also that he speaks of mocking and burning down traditions with the assumption that this must be a good thing. He doesn’t pause to ask, or describe, exactly what traditions it mocks or burns down, nor does he ask, or describe, why those traditions deserve to be burned down. He simply assumes that mocking and burning are good, and traditions are bad, and if you think otherwise, why, you must have voted for Trump.

This too reminds me of something. Some years ago, I saw Luc Besson’s pro-pedophilia movie The Professional, starring a skin-crawlingly sexualized twelve-year-old Natalie Portman. Afterwards, I went looking for movie reviews. I don’t remember how many I read, but I read only one that condemned the film for glamorizing child-molestation. The rest praised the movie for being “subversive”—assuming, again, that subversion is good in and of itself, without pausing to ask what is being subverted, or whether that thing should be subverted.

So that’s where we’re at. But at least we are seeing greater honesty now than we did ten or more years ago: they are openly admitting that they want to burn it all down. Men like Baz McAlister didn’t used to state their intent so plainly.

‘Battle Angel Alita’ and Yet Another Internet Meltdown

Since the live-action Ghost in the Shell didn’t completely bomb, it should probably come as no surprise that a live-action Battle Angel Alita is now in the works, based on another manga from the same era.

For whatever reason, the movie will run under the less elegant title Alita: Battle Angel.

Sigh. Continue reading “‘Battle Angel Alita’ and Yet Another Internet Meltdown”

‘Cleopatra in Space,’ Volume 4

The Golden Lion (Cleopatra in Space, Book 4), written and illustrated by Mike Maihack. New York, NY: Scholastic, 2017. Full color. ISBN 978-0-5425-83871-9.

I previously discussed the first three volumes of Mike Maihack’s Cleopatra in Space, a space opera aimed at younger readers. Maihack originally began the series as a web comic. The web version stopped abruptly after bogging down, but Maihack rebooted the title as a series of graphic novels through Scholastic’s Graphix imprint. The web comic is not in continuity with the graphic novels, but Maihack suggests to parents that they could check it out anyway to get a good idea of the kind of material that’s likely to appear in the print version. Continue reading “‘Cleopatra in Space,’ Volume 4”

#Writing and #Hacking Like a #Bawss

Woot! I finished one of my two final projects for the terms, so I’m taking a little time out to work on Jake and the Dynamo. Volume 1 is someone else’s problem for the time being and volume 2 is about half drafted.

I think it’s time to work on the parts that involve the computer witch Matilda’s hacking of girl robot Grease Pencil Marionette. These scenes will require extensive research and will probably involve really fast typing and a lot of highly technical terms like “mainframe,” which gets said a lot by hackers while hacking.

Fortunately, I have learned from the best in the business:

Yeah, I’ll insert my external drive … ladies.

Press #Pause

Yes, yes, I know. I’m in pause mode over here because I’m approaching the end of the second-to-last term of my graduate program, so I’m working on final projects instead of blogging.

I’ve got content lined up. But it might take me a little time to get to it. I think I’m getting a nice, long Christmas break, though.

The Magic of Friendship Compels You!

Featured image: “An Ordeal from God” by UniqueSKD.

A reader asked if he could use my face as the basis for a character in the cover art of some fan fiction. I told him I don’t think it’s actually necessary to ask permission for that kind of thing or political cartoonists would always be getting sued.

The story for which this image was created does not appear to have been posted yet.

Anyway, that is apparently an image of me as a Catholic priest holding up a DVD set of the original 1980s My Little Pony. Sounds legit.

I notice I’m holding up the complete season 1 released from Rhino in 2004, which is no longer available, but has been supplanted by the 2014 complete series box set from Shout! Factory, which also includes season 2 and is still in print.

Jake and the Dynamo’s Thanksgiving Parade of Awesomesauce (Part 1)

“And now,” Pretty Dynamo snarled as she spun her shining spear, “I’m gonna waste that turkey!”

It was late fall, and the air was turning cold. Strong winds sent red oak leaves skittering across frost-slicked sidewalks. Overhead, the sky was a sheet of gray steel. The last remnants of a broken and beaten humanity huddled together in their one surviving city as a chill north wind threatened the onset of winter. Slavering monsters full of malice brooded just outside their borders, and only the vigilant magical girls, man’s last hope, could keep the forces of evil at bay. But hope was waning, for the monsters were innumerable, the girls were few, and winter would be cold.

Meanwhile, Jake was in fifth grade. He didn’t belong there, not exactly: his fifteenth birthday was coming soon, and he was supposed to be in his first year of high school, but a computer glitch had erased part of his elementary transcript, and the school system had a rather inflexible way of dealing with such unexpected contingencies.

If there was one thing his return to fifth grade had taught him, it was to hate holidays. Jake had already suffered through a childish Halloween party full of junk food and screaming kids, and now he had to suffer through Thanksgiving. He tried to remember the first time he went through elementary: had he really spent so little time spelling and doing sums, and so much time tracing his hand on construction paper and decorating it to look like a turkey? It was a wonder he was literate. Continue reading “Jake and the Dynamo’s Thanksgiving Parade of Awesomesauce (Part 1)”

The History of Isekai

A reader called my attention to this, a history and discussion of the tropes typical of the slew of recent anime, following on the heels of Sword Art Online, that depict a gamer otaku getting thrown into another world that looks like a sword-and-sorcery RPG.

This is a bit outside this blog’s usual scope; I admit my knowledge of this particular genre is minimal, simply because my interests run more toward shoujo anime, whereas isekai typically has male protagonists and a male target audience. However, the video does link isekai to predecessors from the ’90s like Magic Knight Rayearth and Vision of Escaflowne, which typically featured schoolgirls getting thrown into fantasy settings. Not discussed, but probably also an important influence on the isekai genre are the RPG-inspired fantasies from yesteryear like Record of Lodoss War.

In the last third of the video, the narrator explains that many of the light novels that make up the sources of isekai fantasy got their starts as web publications, and after suggesting that the isekai genre is saturated, he argues that this is leading in turn to a rise of “pure” fantasy without inserted modern characters, of which he holds up Made in Abyss as a premier example.

For recent examples of “traditional” or “pure” fantasy, I would also point to the less hyped but respectable Chaika the Coffin Princess, which was a competently made, light novel-based anime series that was something like an old-school fantasy in the tradition of Discarded Princess (because it was in fact from the same author and the same studio).

I have to confess I still haven’t watched or read Made in Abyss, though it’s on my list.