History of Magical Girl Anime, Part 15

Haven’t done one of these for a while. This is yet another video from SourcererZZ’s well-made series on the history of magical girl anime. His presentation remains impressively disinterested and scholarly, though his thick accent also remains hard to understand, so I recommend turning on the closed captions, which, though somewhat messed up, are nonetheless helpful.

He goes here through the years 2007 and 2008, discussing series such as Kamichama Karin and Shugo Chara! (which I’ve discussed at length). I hesitated to post this, mostly because he also discusses Moetan, a grossly mishandled educational series that’s sort of like Dora the Explorer … for perverts. But as I said, SourcererZZ is professional in his presentation, so I decided to share anyway.

Although he for the most part simply summarizes the series he discusses, at the beginning of this video, he talks about how Getsumen to Heiki Mina, which had its origin as a fictitious anime referenced in the television drama Densha Otoko, which you may know better under the title of Train Man. Basically, it’s a case of a fake series being made real, somewhat like Kujibiki Unbalance.

Giant Robot Battle Scheduled for August

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.

Happy White Day

Art taken from the Anime Art Museum.

We can’t go full weeb unless we mention White Day. Japan has retooled the Christian holiday of St. Valentine’s Day into a day on which women give chocolate to men instead of the other way around. In 1978, Japan’s National Confectionary Industry Association created White Day as a day for men to reciprocate.

It is a tradition that you’re supposed to give three times as much on White Day as you got on Valentine’s Day. So be sure to do something nice for your magical girl today.

I might have a story about Jake giving candy to Dana … but I’m doing my taxes instead.

So, anyway, happy White Day. This holiday, I should note, is not only celebrated in Japan, but also in South Korea, though their tradition is different. Instead of having boys give girls candy, they lock students in a school and make them fight monsters and kill one another.

Cinemassacre Has Blown My Mind

Featured Image: “Board James!” by WakkaCiccone.

Ever since some busybody feminists went after James Rolfe, the creator of the Cinemassacre YouTube channel, because he refused to review the new Ghostbusters movie, I’ve been enjoying (and sometimes cringing at) his Angry Video Game Nerd videos, in which he reviews bad games from old gaming consoles, usually with a lot of rage and vulgarity.

From there I discovered his Board James series, in which he similarly reviews old board games. Over time, the Board James videos become less concerned with actually reviewing the games and more concerned with their own story arc. Rolfe finished the series in 2015 with what was allegedly a review of the game Nightmare, but which quickly turned into an Inception-like head trip with some really creative special effects for a video filmed in a basement (video is NSFW):

I was mostly enjoying Board James (except the Mister Bucket episode; I could have done without that), but I sometimes wished the series would focus more on actually reviewing the good and bad points of the various games rather than on the antics of its characters, but just today I stumbled upon a post-series video in which Rolfe, who’s apparently much calmer and more polite in real life than are his screen personas, explains the “mythology” of the Board James universe and also points out symbolism and hints from the video series that I never would have picked up on, ever.

He kind of blew my mind. I’m posting the video here, but I should warn that it’s a spoiler for the series:

In a parallel universe, Rolfe is probably a moderately successful B-movie actor-director. He’s too cute and goofy to be genuinely scary, but he’s got quite a range of facial expressions that enable him to really chew the scenery as he gradually transforms his series of gaming reviews into a serial slasher horror movie.

Merry Christmas (reprise)

Burning through Sailor Moon Crystal as I did in my last post meant spending much of my Christmas break with Sailor Moon … which sounds like pretty good company for Christmas, really.

So to keep the season merry, I pass on this little video I found, by means of which you too may spend Christmas with Sailor Moon. Sort of.

History of Magical Girl Anime, Part 14

Once again, we are obliged to skip ahead in SourcererZZ’s overview of the history of mahou shoujo anime due to copyright. This brings us up to the years 2005 to 2007.

This particular episode is slightly NSFW, about as NSFW as I can put on this blog.

The first title he discusses, UG*Ultimate Girls, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of, and it looks awful, a brainless cheesecake show.

Of most interest to me personally in this edition is Powerpuff Girls Z, which is bizarrely unavailable in the U.S. even though it’s based on an American cartoon. Cartoon Network needs to broadcast it as penance for what they did to the franchise in the reboot.

Notice that most of the titles SourcererZZ discusses in this episode are parodies or fanservice or both, with only two exceptions. That’s not a sign of a genre in good health.

Shut up, fanboy ... or stop shutting up ... or whatever.
Shut up, fanboy. Er, I mean … stop shutting up? Um … whatever.

The Only ‘Revolutionary Girl Utena’ Review You Need to Watch

(And, as a courtesy, I mention that the language here is Not Safe for Work, though if you have a job where you can read magical girl blogs while you’re working … I want your job. No, seriously, I want your job. Where do you work? If my boss caught me reading magical girl blogs, I’d be out on my ear.)

Majestic seahorses!!!

Since this blog is going full Utena until further notice … no, I’m kidding. Never go full Utena. But since this blog is going very Utena until further notice, I invite you to watch the video “Redundancy Girl Utena” by sudoStef.

It begins as a humor piece in which he mocks the show’s repetitious use of the transformation sequence, also known as “Utena Ascending a Staircase No. 2.” Repetitious transformation sequences in mahou shoujo used to be the norm, back when anime recycled as much animation as possible. More recently, it’s gone out of fashion.

Personally, I disagree with sudoStef. Usually, when a magical girl starts transforming, that’s my cue to get up and get another beer. But I never get tired of Utena’s, probably because I ignore the repetitious animation and just headbang to the music.

At the end of the video, and the reason I’m posting it, he does a fine job of presenting an insightful interpretation, coming at it from an angle I hadn’t thought of. I am mostly interested in Utena‘s Gnostic metaphysics and epistemology, which it acquires from Hesse’s Demian. But sudoStef is interested in what we might call its politics, and he does an excellent job of linking the ambiguous conclusion back to the various characters’ machinations and backstabbing and social climbing.

He even does it without spoilers, though as he admits, that means that unless you’ve seen it yourself, you won’t know what he’s talking about. But for me at least, this gives another way to view it.