Okay, I admit I’d never heard of Grape-kun before yesterday, but all of a sudden, my social media timelines were full of him.
The handy website Know Your Meme breaks down the facts. Grape-kun was an elderly Humboldt penguin in the Tobu Zoo in Japan. For a while, the zoo had placed cardboard cutouts of characters from the manga and anime series Kemono Friends in the pens of various animals as an advertising gimmick. I’ve never seen Kemono Friends, but it is apparently yet another of the innumerable manga/anime about random objects anthropomorphized as little girls; in this case, the random objects are animals. The anime series is on Crunchyroll.
Anyway, the zoo placed an image of a character named Hululu, an anthropomorphized penguin, in the pen of Grape-kun. Thereafter, people noticed the penguin frequently staring at the image.
Grape-kun died yesterday, October 12th. The zoo reported that the cut-out of Hululu was with Grape-kun through his final moments.
Four months ago, this comic showed up on the Internet. I’ve been unable to figure out if this is from the manga version of Kemono Friends, or if this is someone’s fan art, but either way, it is now relevant:
I hope Uranus is ready for this, because Viz Media has released the second half of the uncensored sub of Sailor Moon S.
I’ve been looking forward to this for months and months. Now, in spite of my busy schedule, I’m planning to spend some quality time with Uranus. I will of course be talking about it here on the blog—because I want to make you feel the way Uranus makes me feel.
There are several ways to approach Uranus, but I’m planning to use iTunes.
“The same director” means Chiaki Kon, who did a lot to rescue season 3 from the problems that plagued seasons 1 and 2, by ordering revamped character designs and improving the animation.
Otherwise, I don’t know if this is good news or bad. My opinion of Crystal has been mixed, as you can see here. A two-part movie for the Dream arc, however, might be a good idea. If they’re not working to put out an episode on a bi-weekly basis, they might have the time they need to produce something more polished.
There was confirmation as far back as late January that this was going to happen, but there’s been little other news since then that anything was in the works.
Sailor Moon’s official birthday is June 30th, so that is apparently the reason for the announcement of the fourth season, which took place at a live event as Sailor Moon News explains. I chastise myself for having forgotten such an important date. I’ll send her a “belated birthday” card.
The live event also featured some info about the new stage musical, which is unfortunately irrelevant to us over here as the musicals never make it across the Pacific, not even in a subbed video.
In other news, Suidoboshi Heavy Industries and MegaBots, Inc., have finally scheduled their mecha battle for some time in August, as reported in The Nerdist.
In case you didn’t know, both of these companies, the former from Japan and the latter from the USA, built giant robots as hugely expensive toys, the KURATAS and Mark II, respectively. MegaBots challenged Suidoboshi to a giant robot fight quite some time ago. I saw the original MegaBots challenge and Suidoboshi’s somewhat muted acceptance thereof back in 2015, but hadn’t heard anything since.
In the beginning, the Mk. II looked likely to take the KURATAS apart, as it was created to be a hulking beast, whereas the KURATAS was more of a rich kid’s toy. Both companies, however, have apparently upgraded their machines. MegaBots has released video of their new but incomplete Mk. III picking up and tearing apart cars, whereas Suidoboshi has kept its upgrades to the KURATAS a secret.
Both these machines are designed to be piloted, but I hope, for the fight, they set it up so the pilots are not actually inside, since they’re hinting of weapons like chainsaws and drills.
Featured image: “A Magical Girl” by AngusBurgers, which he describes as “a magical skeletal with correct anime proportions.”
I know activity’s sporadic here, but my free time is limited. I did finally make it all the way through the recently released, uncensored first half of Sailor Moon S, and I have a lot I want to say about it, so look for that in the near future. Since I approached the Sailor Moon franchise first through the manga and then through Crystal and then through the Nineties anime, all in rapid succession, I’ve been enjoying making comparisons between the three. It’s particularly interesting to see how Sailor Moon S diverges from its source material more completely than Sailor Moon or Sailor Moon R did. As usual, I sometimes like the changes and sometimes don’t. Uranus is way less annoying in the animated version, mostly because they found a way to give her an internal conflict that isn’t stupid like the manga’s version.
Speaking of crossdressers in magical girl stories, the rough of chapter 25 of Jake and the Dynamo is complete. That’s what I’ve been dedicating my spare time to. It’s got a scene in it I’ve been looking forward to writing for quite a while now, and we’ll see the return of a character that some readers have asked about.
Cardcaptor Sakura is one of the biggest titles in the magical girl genre. It was the first foray into mahou shoujo manga by the unbelievably prolific four-woman team Clamp, which produced it from 1996 to 2000. Its anime adaptation, which began airing in 1998, is one of the few TV cartoons that can hold up in terms of technical quality more than a decade after its run. The anime adds a great deal to the story; some of it is padding, but a lot of it is real improvement. A sliced, diced, and dubbed version was released in English under the title of Cardcaptors.
For reasons I’ll explain in a post I was working on for today but didn’t get finished, I don’t care much for Cardcaptor Sakura. Nonetheless, I must announce that after all this time, Clamp is adding a third arc to the story, the “Clear Card Arc,” currently underway. The first collected volume appeared in Japan last month. I don’t believe any English translation has appeared as of yet.
The original story featured its heroine in fourth and fifth grade, gradually powering up as she collects the “Clow Cards,” each of which contains a magic spell. The sequel now has her in middle school.
While many fans are excited, I’m scared. What is Clamp going to do to that poor girl now? She barely escaped all those perverts last time. I’m especially worried about Tomoyo, her obsessive best friend who at first seems to be an innocent little ten-year-old girl until Clamp casually drops the bombshell that she’s a monomaniacal lesbian stalker with a costume fetish and a penchant for voyeurism. Is this going to be the story arc where she hides a camera in Sakura’s bathroom or something?
Just as a reminder, November is National Novel Writing Month. If you’ve ever wanted to write a whole novel in a single month, now is the time. There is an official website, linked above, where you can get pep talks, track your progress, and so forth.
I am reliably informed that if you hit writer’s block during a NaNoWriMo marathon, “just add ninjas” is a good way to get out of it. This is known as Chandler’s Law, formulated by pulp writer Raymond Chandler, who once said, When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand.”
In the world of anime fandom, this is really big news.
I hope that it is also good news, but that remains to be seen. I don’t follow the politics of fandom, but I sometimes hear murmurs of discontent with FUNimation. However, I personally have been generally happy with Crunchyroll, the anime streaming service, though I recently let my subscription lapse for economic reasons. A few years ago, Crunchy seemed to be mostly a motley collection of obscure titles and hentai crap, but more recently, I’ve been really impressed as they’ve added more and more classic titles to their catalogue.
In fact, I finally bought my subscription when they picked up a complete set of Cardcaptor Sakura, the inexplicably popular and undeservedly influential magical girl story from CLAMP about an innocent little girl trapped in a world full of perverts. But I’ll talk about that show and why I detest it with a passion at another time. Continue reading “FUNimation Partners with Crunchyroll”