Review: ‘Wish upon the Pleiades’

Wish upon the Pleiades. Written and directed by Shōji Saeki. Studio Gainax, 2015. 12 episodes. Approximately 290 minutes. Not rated. Available on Crunchyroll.

It’s refreshing to see a magical girl series made as recently as 2015 that’s simple and sincere with no traces of so-called deconstruction or irony. The girls never discover that their familiar is conning them, nor that they’re really in hell. Nobody gets mind-raped. And though it does find a flimsy excuse for a swimsuit episode, it even manages to steer clear of the more grotesque side of anime cheesecake. Continue reading “Review: ‘Wish upon the Pleiades’”

JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 6

JAKE AND THE DYNAMO

CHAPTER 6: GIRL WITH GUNS

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Jake half climbed and half slid down the ladder. Because of the hole the dinosaur had made, it was ten feet between the bottommost rung and the pavement. He carefully lowered himself from the lowest rung and dangled for a few seconds before he dropped. Such a fall would have stung if he had been in his Oxfords, but, fortunately, he was in basketball shoes. Once he was on the ground, he helped Miss Percy down by letting her lower herself onto his shoulders.

After he got her to the pavement, she gazed unhappily at her pumps. “What a day to be in heels.”

“I wonder,” Jake muttered, half to himself, “if we should try to find some kind of weapon—”

“What good would that do?”

“I don’t think these are magical monsters.” He shaded his eyes and peered again into the sky. “It looks like the tower guns are doing real damage. That means these are just ordinary, run-of-the-mill dinosaur robots from space.” Continue reading “JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 6”

‘RWBY’ Art

Featured image: “Ruby Rose” by unknown artist.

In spite of its flaws and rough edges and obvious derivations, I adore RWBY, Monty Oum’s anime- and video game-inspired action girl indie cartoon with Rooster Teeth. But I still haven’t finished the third season. I was depressed by Monty Oum’s untimely death.

In spite of the remarkably improved animation quality over time, including in the third volume, which approaches professional level, the action sequences aren’t the same without the series creator. Oum was the Yuen Woo Ping of animation. Nobody can do cartoon action like he could.  Still, I approve Rooster Teeth’s decision to go forward without him.

Also, judging by RWBY‘s barely concealed source material, Oum must have liked the same stuff I like. Pretty sure he must have been a fan of Fairy Musketeers, one of my all-time favorite magical girl shows, which pits a team of fairy tale girls led by Red Riding Hood against an evil Cinderella, much like RWBY.

But, anyway, have a little art of best girl, by whom I mean Ruby Rose.

"Ruby Rose RWBY Death Scythe" by unknown artist.
Ruby Rose RWBY Death Scythe” by unknown artist.

JAKE AND THE DYNAMO … on Audio?

Okay, Jake and the Dynamo is not currently available on audio.  Before that happens, I need to get a better microphone and learn how to use some of this editing software. But a reader made this ad and sent it to me, and I thought it was really cool.

I especially like the musical choices he’s got in there. I wish I had some video to go with that rousing number at the end. Considering the way the characters bounce around like pinballs during the action sequences, I think it’s appropriate.

If anyone cares what I usually listen to while writing Jake and the Dynamo, however, it’s usually Disturbed. I have played this one on repeat enough to make it the unofficial theme song:

History of Magical Girl Anime, Part 5

Unfortunately, part 4 of SourcererZZ‘s thorough history of magical girl anime is not available in my country because of a copyright claim, so we have to skip ahead to part 5, where he starts with 1993’s superhero parody Moldiver. He continues from there through 1995. These are the years immediately after the appearance of Sailor Moon, when the genre enjoyed a surge in popularity.

I particularly enjoyed his discussion of Magic Knight Rayearth, an RPG-inspired adventure with a twist, which is the only story by CLAMP (that team of manga-ka that is both so prolific and so overrated) that I like.

Unfortunately, his sound quality is going down the tubes. SourcererZZ has always been hard to understand, but now he’s got a bad mike to go with the broken English.  His description of Moldiver is more-or-less indecipherable, but he becomes intelligible shortly after that.  In spite of the shortcomings (and, alas, the missing episodes), this is the most thorough overview of the genre I’ve ever come across.  His research, and his insane ability to find clips from obscure cartoons from the days of laserdiscs and VHS, is quite impressive.

Why the New ‘Ghostbusters’ Looks Like Suck

The remake of Ghostbusters has certainly stirred the pot. Its trailer has the dubious honor of being the most disliked movie trailer in YouTube history. At the time of writing, the dislike count is 839,395. That last dislike on there is mine. I don’t normally hit dislike buttons and, in fact, generally dislike them, but I wanted my own piece of YouTube history.

Recently, the popular Cinemassacre released a video in which reviewer James Rolfe says, calmly and reasonably, that he is not going to see the film because the trailer looks terrible and the new movie pays obvious disrespect to the franchise. His reasoning, given the subject matter, is sound: Continue reading “Why the New ‘Ghostbusters’ Looks Like Suck”

JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 5

JAKE AND THE DYNAMO

CHAPTER 5: SPACESHIPS AND DINOSAURS

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Strict rules governed physical contact between teachers and students, but in the heat of the moment, Miss Percy apparently forgot them.

She grabbed Jake by a belt loop and the back of his collar and hauled him away from Dana. He could have fought off the teacher as easily as he fought off the little girl, but he didn’t resist. Instead, slouching with his hands in his pockets, he stared at the floor while Miss Percy clutched his shoulders, shook him, and wept.

“How could you?” she cried. “How could you?” Continue reading “JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 5”