Incoming: ‘Sugar Sugar Rune’

I have managed, with some difficulty, to acquire the rest of the Moyoco Anno’s Sugar Sugar Rune, the first three volumes of which I reviewed previously. So a final review of what some consider the greatest “cute witch” comic is incoming in the near future.

I said before that this series, which originally came out in English through Del Rey Manga and is now out of print, needs to be re-released. Something I missed at the time: apparently, according to Anime News Network, the title has been acquired by Udon Entertainment,  and was slated to see a release in the second half of 2016, though that never actually happened. Perhaps there will be a release sometime this year. It ought to be in full color, though that’s probably asking too much.

Brief thoughts: the premise and introduction, set up over the first three volumes, are stronger than the sword-and-sorcery epic it tries to become in its latter half. It appears to break its own rules a couple of times to bring about its conclusion. Still, I like its stylish goth look, and it brings an unusual attitude to the genre, being saccharine and girlish, but with an unexpected bite.

No.

I will not be seeing Star Wars: The Last Mary Sue, just in case anyone might have thought to ask. The special editions deeply wounded my enthusiasm for Star Wars, and the prequels killed it. I don’t expect the House of Child Molestation Mouse to be capable of treating the franchise with any respect, and all the buzz I’ve heard about the sequels and spinoffs has been consistently negative.

The very fact that the sequels’ creators have decided to make Star Wars about Grrrl Power shows that they don’t understand the original films. Taking what is at heart a boys’ adventure serial and girl-powering it up is as tin-eared as redoing Ghostbusters with an all-female cast, or redoing Sailor Moon with an all-male cast.

And by the way, there is, in fact, a version of Sailor Moon with an all-male cast, but it’s done as a self-aware joke. That’s one of the differences between America and Japan: in Japan, they say, “Ha! We took your beloved franchise and gender-swapped it! Isn’t that FUNNY?” But in America, they say, “Ha! We took your beloved franchise and gender-swapped it! And if you don’t like it, you’re a BIGOT!”

I am reminded of an interview with Patrick Rothfuss from a few years back, in which he said he found it, and I quote, “fucking creepy” (these writers are so eloquent) that The Hobbit has no female characters in it. That’s where we’re at now; we have a generation that doesn’t simply dislike boys’ adventure fiction, but actually can’t comprehend it. He doesn’t merely say that he finds The Hobbit not to be his cup of tea; he finds it creepy. It’s an adventure story for boys about a group of boys who go on an adventure, and Rothfuss can’t wrap his head around it.

Similarly, I remember an argument I had a few years back with some bronies who were grousing that My Little Pony doesn’t have enough male characters in it. I patiently explained to them that it was a cartoon for little girls. They didn’t get it.

The original Star Wars trilogy is about a farmboy who discovers he’s a prince (of sorts) with a great destiny, and who rescues a princess and saves the galaxy. It’s a boys’ adventure story in space. Those who’ve tackled the franchise since then (Lucas himself included) don’t understand that, and they may be incapable of understanding that.

That’s where we’re at. Just look at this comment:

I especially love the part where he says the movie “backs love over hate” after saying it “mocks and burns down.” Note also that he says nothing about whether the film is well-written or well-directed or entertaining. All he cares about is whether he sees his politics in it.

Note also that he speaks of mocking and burning down traditions with the assumption that this must be a good thing. He doesn’t pause to ask, or describe, exactly what traditions it mocks or burns down, nor does he ask, or describe, why those traditions deserve to be burned down. He simply assumes that mocking and burning are good, and traditions are bad, and if you think otherwise, why, you must have voted for Trump.

This too reminds me of something. Some years ago, I saw Luc Besson’s pro-pedophilia movie The Professional, starring a skin-crawlingly sexualized twelve-year-old Natalie Portman. Afterwards, I went looking for movie reviews. I don’t remember how many I read, but I read only one that condemned the film for glamorizing child-molestation. The rest praised the movie for being “subversive”—assuming, again, that subversion is good in and of itself, without pausing to ask what is being subverted, or whether that thing should be subverted.

So that’s where we’re at. But at least we are seeing greater honesty now than we did ten or more years ago: they are openly admitting that they want to burn it all down. Men like Baz McAlister didn’t used to state their intent so plainly.

The How Not to Write a Novel Quiz

Featured image: “Magical Girl Art” by Chrysolith.

I recently stumbled upon this, a quiz designed, supposedly, to see if you have any clue how to write a novel. It was designed by the writers of How Not to Write a Novel, which I have not had the pleasure of reading, but which purports to show by example how to avoid the mistakes of book-writing.

I got a perfect score, I guess. If I may say so, the score doesn’t surprise me: I have no pretensions of being the next Shakespeare, but I can at least turn out a workmanlike product when I’m halfway sober. However, I think a few of the questions are unfair.

For example, when asking what is a good sentence, it first gives the final line from The Great Gatsby as the “correct” answer, and then gives sentences with obvious typos, and then gives this:

Ever back, to the chthonic quagmire of yesterdays that ate yesterdays in monarchic succession, like crocodiles held vassal to a Pharaoh of loss.

That’s purple, but not horrific. I would accept it, depending on the context. It would be at home in a story by Lovecraft. After all, not everything is The Great Gatsby, nor should it be.

JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 19 to Appear Monday

Featured image: “Star Guardian Lux and Magical Girl Quinn” by Hichiyan.

… and I’ll see if I can get chapter 20 of Jake and the Dynamo out the week after that.

This thing’s been on hiatus because everything’s hit me at once over here. Life intervened, etc., etc.  But I’m going to push to get chapter 19 shipshape by Monday one way or the other.

My editor, who’s been very enthusiastic about the project, was “meh” about the rough of chapter 19, which is why I wanted to put it away for a while and then come at it fresh. But I think it’s been long enough. He was also initially kind of “meh” about Chai Square, and I don’t know about anyone else, but I, at least, am happy about how that part ultimately turned out.

Brace yourselves.

J&tD Delayed

And just for a quick update, I am currently working a night shift, and next week I’ll be moving and preparing to start school. Chapter 19 of Jake and the Dynamo is drafted, but my writers’ group informs me that it’s not ready to go. As you could likely guess from the end of chapter 18, it’s mostly an action sequence (like about every other chapter, by design).

The action sequences take me longer to get ship-shape than the other parts, so I’ll probably let it percolate for at least a week while I work on chapter 20. As mentioned before, I’d like to work on getting my buffer back, so even though I managed to race out chapter 18 last week, I’m going to put this officially on hiatus. For real this time.

How to Shave Like a Real Man

In Jake and the Dynamo, I have a scene in which Jake performs a lengthy and elaborate ritual to shave his face in the morning. I thought it was funny to depict a fourteen-year-old going through so much trouble just to scrape away his peach fuzz, but aside from his abuse of aftershave, his morning ritual is pretty much the same as mine.

I did this in part because I wanted to hearken back to the days when shaving was a tad more difficult and therefore more of a rite of passage for the adolescent male.

This is called “wet shaving.” I first discovered it while perusing The Art of Manliness, where I came upon the article, “How to Shave Like Your Grandpa,” and upon reading, immediately realized I would not be happy until I gave up my ridiculous, modern ways of scraping hair from my face and instead found joy and solace in beautiful anachronism. There’s a tight-knit internet community dedicated to wet shaving, because there’s an internet community dedicated to everything, but it’s enjoyed a resurgence in popularity recently mostly because wet shavers tout it as considerably cheaper than shaving with the disposable cartridge-head razors. Continue reading “How to Shave Like a Real Man”

The Rebel

I break the rules.

All right, chapter 18 of Jake and the Dynamo is drafted, but I’m not going to post until it’s been through my writer’s group.  Things have been hectic for me for the last month, so I’ve burned through my buffer and I want to get it back. Thus, the novel’s on hiatus.

My situation is calming down, at least in some ways, so I’ll be able to post more regularly.  We’re going to move more into reviews and articles for a while as I work on getting some more chapters put together on the novel.

A JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Public Service Announcement

As our regular readers have likely guessed, the next chapter of Jake and the Dynamo, to appear at midnight tomorrow, will deal with more serious subject matter than the chapters previous.

In keeping with the increasingly serious content of this serious story, the next chapter contains coarse and vulgar language of the sort that is only appropriate for serious works.

Also, it contains dinosaurs.

In fact, the chapter is so serious that it even presents a single instance in which our protagonist, Jake, utters the so-called “c-word.”

However, in order to protect the sensibilities of the more sensitive members of our readership, we have elected to print the word as “cr_d.” This is to avoid giving excessive offense.

Thank you for giving your attention to this delicate matter.