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.

Merry Magical Girl Christmas

“All this fuss over a little fat man in a red suit.”

The time has come to celebrate a holiday that most magical girls observe but know nothing about. Since I gave up alcohol for Advent, after getting back from Christmas Vigil Mass, I poured myself a tumbler of salted caramel-flavored Ole Smoky. Salted caramel, in case you don’t know, is the new pumpkin spice.

All I can say is … too much salt and not enough caramel. Blech. It’s not good in eggnog, either. 2/10 would not recommend.

But aside from that, merry Christmas and all. I’m going to go indulge in my annual tradition of daydreaming about what a remake of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians might look like if Sean Connery played Santa.

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.

Update 2: Cover Art

Today, I was discussing cover art for the Jake and the Dynamo novel. I don’t have a contract in hand, so it’s probably best I don’t give any specific details as of yet, but things are moving ahead. It appears that the book should be out sometime next year.

I have a big project looming, but my schedule will ease up a little after next weekend. The rest of today I’m planning to spend on a short story I want to submit to an anthology project.

The Briefest of Updates

I feel the need to apologize again for the lack of content. I’m moving into the final phase of my second-to-last term of school, so I’m naturally swamped with school work, plus I’m working two jobs.

I’m just stepping in to say that things appear to be slowly creeping forward on the book publication project, though it is still too early to give official details. I’ll keep you all posted. I’m going to be permanently indebted to L. Jagi Lamplighter, who’s gone above and beyond the call of duty to help this project, but she seems to be as enthusiastic about it as I am, if not moreso.

In other news, the second season of Miraculous Ladybug is finally underway … in Spain. I’m unsure yet when it reaches the U.S., but I intend to keep an eye out for it. Its first season was one of the greatest pleasures I’ve had watching television in a long while.

Also, when I can, I’m snatching occasional episodes of the second half of Sailor Moon S, which I will of course have to discuss when I’m finished.

Grape-kun Is with Harambe Now

Waifus out for Grape-kun.

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.

He’s probably wondering what happened to Hululu’s pants.

Naturally, people leapt to conclusions, and Goboiano reported on April 27 with the headline, “Japan Puts Anime in Zoo and Penguin Adopts a Waifu.”

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:

Rest in peace, Grape-kun.

#WaifuWednesday Special: Andalusia Trading Card is 50% Off!

On this Waifu Wednesday, are you alone? Are you lonely and miserable, sitting in your mom’s basement with your fedora askew on your unwashed hair as you scratch your unshorn neck and pick at your acne? Are your hot pockets tasteless, no longer satisfying? Does your anime character body pillow no longer comfort you as it once did? Do you wonder if this is all there is to life? Do you yearn for something more? Are you in need of a warrior dame named after an autonomous community of Spain to lift you out of your doldrums?

I think so. In fact, I know so.

That’s why, in honor of Waifu Wednesday, our one-of-a-kind Magical Girl Lady Paladin Andalusia trading cards are half off for one day only! Featuring Andalusia’s genuine signature and the professional photography of artist Roffles Lowell, this card depicts Andalusia in a striking yet sensitive pose, eyes humbly cast down as she thanks God and the Moon Princess for her latest victory over monsters and Saracens … or maybe she’s just thinking about the Backdoor Boys, because, I mean, Donnie in those tight jeans? Like, OMP.

So don’t delay. Shut up and let me take your money … or something like that.

Bad Signs for the ‘My Little Pony’ Movie

The above image is screencapped from Rotten Tomatoes. At the time of this writing, My Little Pony: The Movie has no critical reviews, which means they’re withholding it from critics.

It’s also opening the same weekend as Blade Runner. They don’t have exactly the same target audience, but still.

I smell a bomb.

Excerpts from the Rag & Muffin Lexicon

Acharya: Master, guru.

Alta: A red dye used to paint the edges of a woman’s feet during some religious ceremonies.

Angithi: A brazier made from a clay-lined container in which coals or other fuels are placed.

Antavasin: Pupil, student.

Arx Ciceronis: A large, walled fortress on Godtown’s west end. Home of the city’s more well-to-do Elysian expatriates.

Drug Doll: Slang, a disparaging term for a HYBRID.

Elysian Empire: A resurrected Roman Empire ruling approximately half the globe. The Elysian Empire formed out of the Holy League following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto, but did not attain worldwide significance until the late eighteenth century.

Heaven Seed: A potent entheogen produced in a gland attached to the visual cortex of a HYBRID.

Hybrid: One who is half human and half MARJARA. Hybrids are always female and have a maximum lifespan of approximately sixteen years. Frequently installed in temples as KUMARIS.

Kumari: Literally, “virgin.” A polite form of address for an unmarried girl or woman, equivalent to “Miss” in English. Alternatively, a HYBRID installed in a temple as a living goddess. Alternatively, a specific goddess, Kanya Kumari.

Lakh: A hundred thousand.

Marjara: Earth’s second sapient race besides the human. Unlike a human, who has an “invisible caste,” a marjara has distinct physical traits determined by his VARNA and JATI.

Paan: a stimulant created from a combination of betel leaf and areca nut. Produces a characteristic orange stain in the mouth.

Pishacha: A shapeshifting demon that haunts cremation grounds and feeds on the living.

Runearmor: An armor suit created with RUNETECH. Its operator must be temporarily dead in order to communicate with the unclean spirits trapped in the suit’s runes.

Sammohana: The power of a HYBRID to deliver mystical visions via her eyes.

Seed Sucker: Slang, a criminal who extracts HEAVEN SEED from HYBRIDS.

Skull-bit: A drill used to penetrate the back of a HYBRID’s skull to reach her HEAVEN SEED gland.

Tuaoi Stone: A magical crystal. Tuaoi Stones are found primarily in the Vindhya Mountains west of Godtown. They are vital in both YOGA and RUNETECH.

Varna: “Color.” The varnas are the four major caste groupings into which marjaras and humans traditionally fall: BRAHMIN, KSHATRIYA, VAISHYA, or SUDRA. The corresponding colors are white, red, yellow, and black, respectively.