Musical Madness: The ‘Revolutionary Girl Utena’ Rewatch, Part 4

Things start to get freaky!

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 4: “The Sunlit Garden – Prelude.” Directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara. Character designs by Chiho Saito. Be-Papas, 1997 (Nozomi Entertainment, 2011). Approx. 24 minutes. Rated “16+.”

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Yeesh, haven’t done one of these in a while. My schedule these days is packed, but it occurs to me that I might be able to do so much as watch a single episode of a beloved anime on a semi-daily basis and discuss the same, so I’ve decided to continue our series on Revolutionary Girl Utena, the ultimate in LSD-fueled self-important mahou shoujo anime. Once again, I find myself sitting up late at night with one hand around a Captain Morgan Cannonblast and another hand hovering over the Print Screen button.

I have got to change my life.

Anyway, yes, it is indeed time once again to explore Revolutionary Girl Utena.

Yeah, I bet you’d like to explore Utena.

Continue reading “Musical Madness: The ‘Revolutionary Girl Utena’ Rewatch, Part 4”

Senpai Noticed Me!

Kai Wai Cheah, author of the military dungeonpunk extravaganza No Gods, Only Daimons, who happens to be in my writers’ group, was kind enough to point out that deus ex magical girl has been featured on the Hugo-nominated Castalia House Blog, which is the official organ of an indie publishing house that has become an eclectic haven for talented authors who’ve run afoul of the sf genre’s current political climate.

Blogger Rawle Nyanzi, author of “The Teenage Girl’s Robot Army,” gives your humble host a glowing review:

The Deus Ex Magical Girl blog goes in depth with the series it analyzes, teasing out major themes in what appear to be saccharine children’s entertainment. For example, take a look at this review of Shugo Chara — it’s a thing of beauty and the very post that made me see that this blogger knew his stuff. However, that is not the only good content he has; he also does a masterful job pointing out major problems with another series called Cardcaptor Sakura — according to him, the show is popular with lolicons even though it has no sexualized content.

Not content to criticize from the sidelines, the blogger has also written a magical girl novel called Jake and the Dynamo, which can be read here as of this posting. I haven’t read past the first chapter since it’s not my cup of tea, but I’m sure someone else might like it.

Unfortunately, Mr. Nyanzi has caught me at a bad time. I’m currently trying to acquire a master’s degree at twice the normal pace while simultaneously holding down a job, so my blogging endeavors (as well as my magical girl anime-watching) are temporarily stalled out.

However, I was toying with the idea of begging the Castalia House Blog to let me write a guest post, and it also crossed my mind to submit Jake and the Dynamo for possible publication. I had shied away from these ideas mostly because I assumed my particular interests would not appeal to Castalia House’s core demographic. As Mr. Nyanzi notes, he could only get through my first chapter.

Still, it might be worth a shot.

Progress on Jake and the Dynamo Volume 1

I have to apologize for my absenteeism, but the combination of work and school has left me little time to sleep, let alone blog.

We’re approaching the middle of June, which means it’s soon time to ship the current draft of the first volume of Jake and the Dynamo to my editor. At the moment, I am thinking I will change the title of this volume from Down and Out in Fifth Grade, which sounds like a Beverly Cleary novel, to The Wattage of Justice, which sounds more like a goofy superhero story.

The bonus chapter is drafted, though a reader in my writer’s group wants me to change some details, and I intend to comply. I’ve also just about decided that the bonus story will be a novelette entitled “Eye of Fire.” It’s set in the universe of Rag & Muffin, but I think it makes for a nice capper because of the way it ends.

Unfortunately, I’ve been neglecting my illustrator, and I’ve put off dealing with the cover art partly because I might need the book dimensions first. We’ll make all this happen, but I can’t give an ETA yet.

I’ve been toying with catchphrases and blurbs. I originally was thinking,

The universe is out to get him … but the universe didn’t count on her.

But that sounds kind of … what’s the Internet term? Beta male? I mean, the cover art is almost certainly going to feature a little girl standing in front of a much larger guy, and I don’t want this whole thing to end up like Joss Whedon’s profile picture.

Really, Joss?

I started this project in the first place because I wanted to see if I could create a magical girl’s male sidekick who doesn’t end up looking like a total wuss. So now I’m thinking,

He’s a teenage boy. She’s a preteen powerhouse. They fight crime.

I like it because it’s silly.

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day, a day to honor the fallen soldiers who fought for our freedom.

Here at deus ex magical girl, we especially like to take the time to honor those pretty soldiers who fought for us against the monsters of the Negaverse and never asked for anything in return.

To that end, I draw your attention to the article, “Magical Girls and Their Historical Origins” by Rachael Lefler at Reel Rundown. The article includes a brief, clearly written rundown of the magical girl genre, but is most notable for its (decidedly strained) attempt to link magical girls to Japanese empress Himiko.

What if I told you, the first “magical girls” were the retinue of the first recorded Empress of Japan, Himiko? It’s true. Himiko was an elderly woman, who united a sizable kingdom in ancient Japan through political competence and charisma. She was the first head of Japan as recognized by Chinese historians, because she sent lavish gifts to the emperor of China. Himiko was reported to have maintained a large entourage of little girls around the age of 13, and they all practiced shamanism, very similar to those rituals practiced by Shinto shrine maidens today. [more …]

In any case, everyone have a good Memorial Day, and thank you for stopping by.

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

The Final Hate: This Time It’s Personal!

You say Tomoeda. I say Tomada. Let’s call the whole thing off.

We come now to the final day, the final hate, the final boss, of Ten Things I Hate about Cardcaptor Sakura. Fiery rage has consumed my soul and burned all to ash; in the end, nothing remains … except my hate.

Just look at that picture up at the top there. Look at the way she’s threatening us with that giant, winged claw hammer. What is she planning to do with that thing? It’s all gonna end in tears when she puts an eye out.

That’s how it goes. Magical girl battles are all fun and games until somebody loses an eye. Then they’re awesome.

… Okay, where was I? Ah, yes: hate, burning hate. Here is the final thing I hate about Cardcaptor Sakura: Continue reading “Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, ten!)”

Let the Hate Roll On

Anybody else ever notice how Cardcaptor Sakura is always flipping us off? It’s almost as if Clamp is trying to tell us something …

Oh well. I guess it’s no worse than that guy in Sailor Moon who’s always flipping us off.

Anyway, today was to be our last entry in the Ten Things I Hate about Cardcaptor Sakura. However, real life caught up with me today and I didn’t get the post completed, so the hate will have to continue into overtime.

That means you get more hate for the same price.

The final post, the final hate, is still to come. Expect it when you least expect it.

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

The Ten Days of Hate: Penultimate Day!

Today, in our ongoing series of Ten Things I Hate about Cardcaptor Sakura, we come at last to something I’ve been alluding to all this while. Brace yourselves; we’re now diving headfirst into the cesspool.

Number 2. All the Child Molestors.

One thing is clear from reading comics by Clamp: the Clamp ladies have never met an inappropriate teacher-student liaison they didn’t like. They’ve got so many teachers chasing students that reading their manga can feel a lot like perusing a police blotter in an American newspaper.

I … um … er … I give up.

Continue reading “Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, nine!)”

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

The Ten Days of Hate: Day Seven!

Let us continue with Ten Things I Hate about Cardcaptor Sakura. Today’s post again necessarily contains spoilers.

Number 3: The Creeptastic Mid-story Plot Twist.

“Subaru Nakajima can kiss my butt!” (Yeah, I know. I’m running out of good comparisons here.)

Midway through the story, right at the end of the sixth volume of the Cardcaptor Sakura manga, is a little revelation exposited across two pages. These two pages had a strong effect on me when I read the comic, so I was surprised to see that these details were deleted from the anime—which then had to wedge in references to them later, awkwardly, to explain certain things. Continue reading “Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, eight!)”