‘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.

Jon Del Arroz on Passive Anime Protagonists

On his blog, author Jon Del Arroz has some interesting comments on the passive, weak male protagonists who often star in anime high school rom-coms. Excuse me while I quote him at length:

I had an interesting discussion with a friend last night as we were digging far too deeply into anime. Almost every anime show (especially those set in a high school environment, which is the majority of them), have male protagonists that are your classic gamma male archetype. They are socially awkward, especially around women. When encountered with women they go into a crazed frenzy, female worship, nosebleeds, slapstick failings. We’re supposed to root for them to get the girl in spite of their failures. And sometimes we do, but we can’t help but wince every time they enter the scene with their female counterparts, who are usually far more composed and cooler than they are. Continue reading “Jon Del Arroz on Passive Anime Protagonists”