I’m busy with school, and I’m also digesting the annotations from my editor. But in the meanwhile, I refer you to The Hyped Geek, which offers yet another article overviewing the evolution of magical girl anime from Sally the Witch to the present day.
Being one of those who grew up on anime, one of my biggest and most secret fantasies was to become a magical girl. That’s right; minute long transformations with colourful lights, a cool signature outfit, speeches of love and justice and a cute animal sidekick as a guide.
While that’s how many of us would think of it, it’s a pretty generic view of what constitutes as a magical girl anime. There’s a lot more to the genre than cute young girls with powers, saving their loved ones, or even in most cases, the world, as different anime bring different and new elements that have made the magical girl genre so renowned today. So get your transformation items ready as we go through the most influential magical girl anime from its inception until today. [More …]
One of the reasons I got into this genre in the first place is that it’s narrow enough in its concerns that it plays out over time like an ongoing conversation. One cartoon or comic will come out, and another will build on it or respond to it. So, for example, Revolutionary Girl Utena is an answer to Sailor Moon, and then Princess Tutu is an answer to Revolutionary Girl Utena. More recently, Puella Magi Madoka Magica was a major game-changer, and then Yuki Yuna Is a Hero responded to it. I think this is why magical girl fans so preoccupied with tracing history, because this genre is an ongoing dialogue.
Yesterday’s post on the 1998 Revolutionary Girl Utena visual novel for the Sega Genesis is quite popular for some reason, so let me add a few more links of interest.
I have located exactly one walkthrough for the game, presented by Rouroni Kaji on GameFAQS. It’s a text file that briefly outlines the different game paths and lists what you need to accomplish each of the game’s nine possible endings. It’s a brief outline, with no images or description, that’s meant to be used in conjunction with the game, so it’s more-or-less unintelligible by itself.
There is also a playthrough of the English fansub by Geek Sentai on YouTube. It’s divided into parts; I post only the first here.
It’s not exactly exciting to watch; visual novels are sort of like adventure games minus everything that makes them even slightly interesting.
In 1998, there was a Revolutionary Girl Utena video game. Semi-canonical, it was set chronologically immediately after episode 8, the one I just reviewed. It was created for the Sega Saturn. Sega Nerds reports.
The game was a visual novel, a type of video game that to this day has never found more than a niche market overseas, so it is no surprise that the game, subtitled Story of the Someday Revolution, never saw a release outside Japan.
Deus ex magical girl recently got a mention Nathan Housley’s blog, The Pulp Archivist. Glancing at his blogroll, it appears that he runs in the same circles I do. Check him out.
He has this to say:
D. G. D. Davidson has been discussing Revolutionary Girl Utena, a shoujo series aimed at teenaged girls, bringing a more balanced and thoughtful analysis of the anime and themes than the gloss of surface-level feminism that normally passes for shoujo criticism.
I’m glad to hear it. That is, in fact, one raison d’être for this blog, because I thought it was high time for an alternate interpretation of shoujo anime.
Pulp Archivist is part of a movement Housley calls “PulpRev,” which stands for “Pulp Revival” (or sometimes “Pulp Revolution”), an attempt to recapture some of the fun and grandeur of early sf and adventure stories. It’s certainly a movement I can support, even though I’ve moved from sf fandom to weeaboo in my personal interests. Housley has no great interest in magical girls, but he does from time to time discuss anime. Check him out.
We find a quick definition of the Pulp Revival from Misha Burnett, who summarizes it in “five pillars.” Although I may not be a formal part of this movement, I think I could argue that Jake and the Dynamo embraces all five of the pillars and could in that sense be called a pulp novel.
Roffles Lowell, the official illustrator of Jake and the Dynamo, sends us this delightful image of Magical Girl Grease Pencil Marionette cosplaying as the Statue of Liberty to remind us that imagination is freedom … whatever that means.
I doubt it if mankind’s last refuge, the megacity of Urbanopolis, has a Statue of Liberty. Instead of some colossus welcoming visitors to its harbor, it more likely has some kind of warning. Like a big sign saying, “Screw with humanity and we’ll kill you. We’re serious.”
In fact, while poking around the Internet, I think I found the city’s official flag:
I suppose, in addition to warning away mankind’s uncountable enemies, a statue in the harbor could potentially serve as a beacon to human survivors. Instead of “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,” it would probably say something like, “Get in the city if you want to live.”
A few days ago, I amused myself by inventing magical girl-themed mixed drinks (all are untested, so create at your own risk), except the Madoka is basically a ripoff of a standard Baby Guinness, only with Cannon Shot.
But I’m not alone. Kyla M. Covert beat me to it by creating the Magical Girl, a cocktail involving viniq, prosecco, and cranberry juice. I don’t even know what those are. Well, except for the cranberry juice … okay, viniq is apparently moscato with vodka. That sounds appropriately disgusting. Maybe not as disgusting as what I suggested for the Utena, but still.
Unlike me, Covert actually tested her creation. Here’s the result:
It looks okay. It’s probably pretty sweet, but it really shouldn’t be called “the Magical Girl” unless it’s cloying and gross.
Speaking of which, if you really want outrageous girly drinks that will cause heart palpitations or possibly fits of rage in anyone with a Y-chromosome or a modicum of respect for alcohol, you totally have to check out the abomination known as a “unicorn.” As described on a blog inappropriately called Kidspot, a unicorn is an alcoholic beverage made with such ingredients as ice cream, milk, and cotton candy. And there’s booze in there someplace.
This is apparently something of a trend, as Kidspot reports several bars with several variations on this diabetes-inducing creation.
So there you go. Now we know what magical girls drink on their down time. As for me? I’m gonna go crack open a beer.
Turns out he knows a little something about shoujo anime, so we bonded over our mutual love of Revolutionary Girl Utena and contempt for Cardcaptor Sakura, and I introduced him to Princess Tutu. He contacted me after a few episodes to tell me he was hooked. Seemed like a nice guy. Buy his books.
Del Arroz, however, is guilty of wrongthink. I’m not sure I have all the details, but Mike Glyer, the editor of the fanzine File 770, which has over fifty (!) Hugo award nominations, has apparently obsessed over him somewhat. Del Arroz does indeed seem to be featured on File 770an awful lot for a guy with two novels. I’m gonna have to get tips from Del Arroz on self-promotion. Continue reading “Support Your Local Jon Del Arroz”
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.
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.
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.