Art Saturday

Title unknown by タンネ.

I’m behind on reviews, but I’m busy today putting polish on the twelve existing chapters of Jake and the Dynamo before starting in on the thirteenth, and I also need to finish up that essay on The Powerpuff Girls and read Herman Hesse’s Demian before I dive into my attempt to discuss Revolutionary Girl Utena. So I’m busy. Have you some artwork I stole.

Meet Your Magical Girls! JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Bio 3: Rifle Maiden

CODENAME: Magical Girl Rifle Maiden
ALTER EGO: Unknown
FAMILIAR: Bossy the Holstein
CURRENT AGE: 15
THREAT LEVEL COMPETENCY: 6.4
MAGITECH: Gunnery

“Magical Girl Rifle Maiden atcher service.”

Not much is known about Rifle Maiden. Armed with a rifle and a pair of revolvers, she can fire explosive bolts or stun blasts, and apparently never runs out of ammunition.  However, her energy consumption is quite high, as she has difficulty sustaining power in prolonged combat without a steady supply of juice boxes.

Rifle Maiden is most effective when she teams up with other girls; fortunately, a sunny and straightforward personality enables her to befriend her fellow magical girls easily. In recent days, many have observed her working closely with Voodoo Queen Natasha. Continue reading “Meet Your Magical Girls! JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Bio 3: Rifle Maiden”

Meet Your Magical Girls! JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Bio 2: Grease Pencil Marionette

CODENAME: Magical Girl Grease Pencil Marionette
ALTER EGO: N/A
FAMILIAR: Takumi the hologram
CURRENT AGE: 16 (simulated)
THREAT LEVEL COMPETENCY: 5.1
MAGITECH: Artistic

“A girl robot infused with hopes and dreams and the power of imagination!”

Magical Girl Grease Pencil Marionette is a fully functional magical girl simulation system. She is the creation of a genius scientist who dreamt of a day when an army of robots might protect the city from monsters and thus leave its young girls to live their lives in peace. Alas, he died upon activating her, so she is the first, and most likely the last, of her kind.

Whereas most magical girls must only serve until their eighteenth birthdays, Marionette does not age. She has fought for the city for over two hundred years now. Before the Ascension, she was even a personal friend and confidant of the Moon Princess, who often referred to her as “my pet.”

Although the magical girls are officially under the command of the High Priestess, Grease Pencil Marionette, as the oldest active magical girl, has become their de facto field commander. She is almost solely responsible for the communication network that makes the girls so effective at repelling the constant threats to humanity’s continued existence. She encourages the girls to support one another, and she practices what she preaches: rumor has it that she has recently formed a close bond with Magical Girl Card Collector Kasumi, and their relationship has been the subject of much speculation in the press.

But Marionette does not relate so well to girls who step out of line: in recent days, she has butted heads with the mysterious Magical Girl Pretty Dynamo, who has garnered a reputation (and much popularity) as a maverick who plays by her own rules.

Marionette’s magic is the power of imagination. Anything she can imagine, she can draw, and anything she draws with her magical grease pencil becomes real. She often uses her power to create for herself weapons or vehicles, though she cannot create anything that fires projectiles, as such projectiles inevitably revert to mere grease. However, her pencil is unbreakable and can punch through any substance, since she can simply imagine what it touches becoming fragile.

Because of her lack of ranged weapons, Marionette is most effective as a melee fighter. Do not let her modest competency rating of 5.1 fool you: threat assessments are for individual monsters only, but Marionette has effectively battled multiple enemies simultaneously.

Not only is she extremely deadly at close range, but Marionette also has significantly greater stamina than an ordinary magical girl. Equipped with a fusion reactor in her chest, she can operate for long periods on only a little water and does not, like other girls, require juice boxes to replenish her magical energy.

As a simulated magical girl, Marionette has no true contract. Instead, she has a simulated familiar, Takumi, an independent AI program. Takumi is sub-sapient, but contains a complete set of Marionette’s ethics algorithms and data on previous engagements, so he is able to advise her both morally and tactically.

In order to give her the ability to use magic like a real girl, Marionette’s creator had to program her with desires and dreams she can never fulfill. Marionette would like most of all to settle down and dedicate her life to her art, but duty constantly calls her back to the fray. However, the Moon Princess told her that there was a slight chance—very slight—that if she served faithfully throughout her long and weary existence, Grease Pencil Marionette might one day acquire that which she desires most of all: a human soul.

Meet Your Magical Girls! JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Bio 1: Pizza Margherita

We’re currently on track to begin serializing JAKE AND THE DYNAMO as early as next week. And thanks to my artist (you know who you are). Here’s the first of our featured characters.

CODENAME: Magical Girl Space Princess Pizza Margherita
ALTER EGO: Margherita Della Mozzarella
FAMILIAR: Pepper the dalmatian puppy
CURRENT AGE: 20
THREAT LEVEL COMPETENCY: 7.9
MAGITECH: Culinary

“Evildoers beware, for I toss the dough of justice, and justice is never half-baked!”

In an age when humanity faced the prospect of extinction at the hands of man-eating vegetables, comfort food came to the rescue.

Member of the fabled Mozzarella crime family and a direct descendent of Benito Mozzarella himself, Margherita can make you a pizza you can’t refuse. While working as a waitress at a pizzeria, she fed a stick of pepperoni to a starving puppy, only to find that the dog was actually a visitor from Planet Italia, who rewarded her for her good deed by anointing her princess and granting her the Power of Pizza.

Armed with a Vorpal Pizza Slicer, Pizza Margherita could fire boiling tomato sauce from her hands, hurl razor-sharp pepperoni slices like shuriken, fire gooey cheese whips, and toss dough without ripping it. Flying over the city on her Pie in the Sky, she was ever vigilant against the forces of evil.

It was no doubt fated that King Tosser, the caesar of the nefarious Salad Soldiers, would become Pizza Margherita’s nemesis. After his latest act of wanton destruction, Margherita could often be seen standing in the smoking ruins, shaking her fist at the sky, and crying, “Ooh, that Tosser!”

Her most famous (and destructive) battle occurred in Anno Principis 238, when a giant, tentacled bell pepper attacked city hall. Bravely standing her ground even after several other magical girls had fled the scene, Pizza Margherita shouted, “You can’t fight city hall!” and leapt into the fray.

She successfully sliced and diced the killer capsicum, but not before the nasty nightshade had exacted its due: the final count of those dead or missing was three hundred and twelve. During the funeral that followed, the High Priestess of the Temple of the Moon Princess famously and poignantly intoned, “Ask not for whom the bell pepper tolls. It tolls for thee.”

Margherita at last confronted her final boss on the eve of her eighteenth birthday. Their battle stretched across thirty stories of a downtown highrise and ended on the stroke of midnight when she landed the fatal blow with her Vorpal Slicer. When it was over, that Tosser lay dead, and Margherita was a mere mortal: like all eighteen-year-old girls, she had lost her powers. She thus ended her career with a respectable competency rating of 7.9, Tosser’s official threat level as determined by the city’s Threat Assessment Board.

Margherita publicly revealed her secret identity shortly after her retirement. Though no longer in service, she remains active in the magical girl community and has often been seen braving even the fiercest battle zones to replenish the girls’ needed supply of juice boxes. She currently runs her own pizza parlor.

In spite of her years of service to the city, some now regard Margherita as a nuisance on account of her political campaigns. Her attempt to instate Vegetable Awareness Month and Pizza Appreciation Day met widespread derision, as did her anti-vegetable “Toss Dough not Salad” billboards. After she petitioned the City Fathers for a restraining order that would require salad to remain at least a hundred yards from pizza at all times, she was banned from attending any further City Council meetings.

Art Tuesday

Featured image by moonelf313.

It’s Tuesday. I’m busy tonight. Have some art, this time featuring Amulet Heart and Skyjack from Shugo Chara. In my humble opinion, Shugo Chara is perhaps the quintessential magical girl story, displaying the genre’s common themes, its strengths, and its weaknesses, in particularly stark fashion.

I keep meaning to write a philosophical essay on Shugo Chara similar to the essay I’m writing up on The Powerpuff Girls … but I can’t bring myself to finish the final series of the anime, Shugo Chara! Party!

It’s like, every time I watch it, I can feel my brain bleeding out of my ears.

The anime adaptation of Shugo Chara is really good for a full hundred and two episodes, but then the story’s over, yet they keep it going for twenty-four more episodes by turning it into a sort of Captain Kangaroo-style variety show. I like to think I have a pretty strong stomach for this cutesy crap, but that’s more than even I can take.

The manga version also dithers around for a while after the denouement (and its penultimate volume is lazy as hell), but it’s comparatively bearable.

Art (and Update)

Featured image: “Magical Girls” by Yu-nicorn.

I’m slacking off today and giving you another artwork because I’m spending the evening working on the twelfth chapter of Jake and the Dynamo, the novel I’ll begin serializing here shortly. Twelve chapters should be sufficient buffer.

I recently finished up Nurse Witch Komugi R, and should have a review up tomorrow evening. I’m still deciding what I think of it, besides that it’s unfocused and has the wrong protagonist. When it first appeared, I was hoping it might be a sign that the genre is finally getting out of the Goth phase it’s been in since 2011’s Puella Magi Madoka Magica. And maybe it is, but this series is a misfire. We’ll talk about it tomorrow.

Happy National Unicorn Day

Featured artwork: Artist and title unknown.

Today, it seems, is National Unicorn Day, so have some Sailor Moon Super S fan art featuring Super Sailor Chibi Moon and Helios. Unfortunately, the site hosting this astonishing image hasn’t bothered to name the artist or title, so if anybody recognizes it, let me know and I’ll provide proper credit. In the meanwhile, I’ve included a link.