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.

Jake and the Dynamo Coming Soon

Featured image: “Snowwhite and Hardgore Alice” by KaishaScire

I’m busy at the moment with an assignment I have to have completed tonight, but if I can get this wrapped up, I’ll make the final pass on chapter 24 of Jake and the Dynamo. Check back here tomorrow, as I hope to have it up.

Signal Boost

Featured image: “Magical Girl Blanc” by Kakenokaze.

Jesse Lucas, a member of my writers’ group, has a blog where he posts regularly, The Jesse Lucas Saga. Check it out.

Jesse writes on a smattering of subjects, but he mostly discusses sf and anime from a Mormon perspective. He also produces free fiction. Recently, he’s been reading George MacDonald, and he explains why The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya really doesn’t need sequels (you’re too late, Jesse).

‘Sailor Moon R: The Movie’ Update 2

I’ve been extremely busy, and I’m running on about five hours of sleep a night, so I apologize for the sporadic posting.

Anyway, I found out in the middle of the day today, Friday, that I have to work on Saturday. That means my movie ticket for Sailor Moon R: The Movie Reloaded just got worthless.

I’m crushed, of course. This would have been my first in-theater magical girl experience. I was looking forward to driving three hours just to see an animated one-and-a-half-hour film. I was looking forward to having an excuse to wear a Sailor Moon T-shirt. I was looking forward to hanging out with soccer moms trying desperately to recapture their childhoods, and college-aged special snowflakes who’ve never left theirs. Now I don’t get to.

… But wait. It seems there’s another theater with a showing on Sunday. If I set out early enough on this epic journey to see a cartoon, and drop more money for yet another ticket, I think I can swing this.

It looks like it’s one of those fancy theaters where they’ll serve you dinner during the movie, too, and that means I should be able to drink beer.

Anyway, if I can actually move heaven and earth to make it to a screening, I will review this movie. If I can’t, I won’t. Watch this space.

 

Sequel to ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ Is Coming … Prepare Yourselves

Featured image: “Cardcaptor Sakura Fanart” by Daikazoku63

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.

An anime adaptation is slated to begin in January of 2018. Plan is to bring back director Morio Asaka and round up much of the original voice cast. The Cardcaptor Sakura anime had very good production values, so bringing back the old-timers rather than getting fresh blood seems to be a good move. As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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?

Curse This Schedule

Tomorrow I may have time to write the post I’ve been meaning to get to, but in the last few remaining minutes of my evening today, I’m going to work on Jake and the Dynamo. I’m still sorting out my new schedule, so posting will be more spotty even than my usual for now.

The image above is a mascot character I rescued (?) from a site called Kimiko Anime, a review blog that was apparently quite active for a while, but is now presumably defunct as it has not been updated since 2010. Shame to let that magical girl mascot go to waste, though.

I take no responsibility for other people’s content, but be aware that Kimiko Anime, if you choose to visit, has a note up top that it may not be suitable for minors.

J&tD Update

Featured image: “magical girl yellow” by SY-97Satellites

I just wrote the last word of the rough draft of chapter 23 of Jake and the Dynamo. It really didn’t want to “go” for a while until I figured out which scenes were missing. It also ended up being forty-four pages long, which makes this beach episode the longest chapter of the novel so far.

I’ll see how soon I can get it out. Probably this week.

‘Sailor Moon R: The Movie’ Update

I have successfully purchased my theater ticket for the first American theatrical release of a Sailor Moon film, which runs under the impressive title of Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon R: The Movie: The Promise of the Rose: Really Long Name for a Cartoon: It Just Keep Going: Holy Friggin’ Cow: How Many Colons Is That?

Okay, I’m kidding. I think they’re just calling it Sailor Moon R: The Movie for this release, but “The Promise of the Rose” was slapped onto the American release the first time around. This theatrical presentation will also include the first-ever American showing of the short film Make Up! Sailor Soldier, which according to Infogalactic is basically a recap episode for anyone who might be seeing the movie without having watched any of the TV series first.

Except instead of “soldier,” I think the official translation is “guardian” now, which I kind of hate. Admittedly, “sailor soldier” sounds dumb in English, but still.

And while we’re on the subject, it is ironic that, according to Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana Jr.,* sailors view soldiers with contempt and even use “soldier” as an insult meaning “lazy good-for-nothing.” To mimic the sailors’ slangy speech, Dana renders the word soldier as “soger.” According to him, the captain of a sailing vessel might even punish an especially lazy crewman by making him march up and down on the deck, holding a marlin spike as if it were a rifle. Such a humiliation is sufficient to break some men.

… And that has nothing to do with what we’re talking about. Anyway, speaking of laziness, it’s kind of an epic journey to the theater from where I am, but barring some unforeseen contingency, I should be able to make it. I will put in every effort to do so, as I wouldn’t want to be seen as lazy like a soldier. Or sailor. Or sailor soldier. Or whatever.

It will no doubt be a great thrill at last to see a magical girl in the theater … and for that matter, to hear the new dub for the first time.  I’ve been watching Sailor Moon in the Japanese with subtitles. I don’t really like to indulge in the perpetual play-fighting of otaku over sub vs. dub (if anyone really cares that much, let him take the time to learn Japanese), but switching from one to the other will no doubt be jarring.

I’m really looking forward to this. It is supposed to be the best of the Sailor Moon movies.

*And no, Dana Volt is not named after Richard Henry Dana.

Happy New Year from deus ex magical girl

Featured image: “new year magic” by mauroz.

I stand between the years. The Light of My Presence is flung across the year to come—the radiance of the Sun of Righteousness. Backward, over the past year, is My Shadow thrown, hiding trouble and sorrow and disappointment.

Dwell not on the past—only on the present. Only use the past as the trees use My Sunlight to absorb it, to make from it in after days the warming fire-rays. So store only the blessings from Me, the Light of the World. Encourage yourselves by the thought of these.

Bury every fear of the future, of poverty for those dear to you, of suffering, of loss. Bury all thought of unkindness and bitterness, all your dislikes, your resentments, your sense of failure, your disappointment in others and in yourselves, your gloom, your despondency, and let us leave them all, buried, and go forward to a new and risen life.

Remember that you must not see as the world sees. I hold the year in My Hands—in trust for you. But I shall guide you one day at a time.

Leave the rest with Me. You must not anticipate the gift by fears or thoughts of the days ahead.

And for each day I shall supply the wisdom and the strength.

—A. J. Russell, God Calling

Jake and the Dynamo on the Periodic Table

I’m working on the next chapter of Jake and the Dynamo, which I promise will be a beach episode, and I thought I ought to give the story as it presently stands a check to make sure it’s on track.

By which I mean, on track to include every element in the Periodic Table of Awesoments, which is the goal for this, and indeed every, story.

Let’s see how we’re doing.

1. Bacon: Jake has it for breakfast most every morning.
4. Explosion: Obviously.
6. Beer: Jake’s parents allow him one beer when they order out for pizza.
10. Sniper: Briefly mentioned when Jake and Dynamo meet some military personnel.
13. Boobs: This is … well, this is a magical girl story.
15. Coffee: Mentioned repeatedly.
17. Zombies: Not only zombies, but zombies who appear during an invasion of robot dinosaurs from space, and I’d like to think that putting those together even makes sense, kind of.
24. Minigun: Appears in the very first chapter.
26. Kung Fu: Or at least cartoon-fu.
28. Helicopter: Mentioned several times.
31. Space: Tesla the lightning bug is a former space pilot.
36. Vampires: Briefly mentioned, and at least one magical girl is a vampire huntress as well as a metal idol.
39. Sword: As wielded by Lady Paladin Andalusia.
41. Nunchucks: This might be a stretch since she hasn’t appeared on the page yet, but Nunchuk Nun wields nunchuks.
45. Moon Jumps: Assuming this means making huge leaps rather than literally jumping on the moon, this is the preferred mode of travel for the ground-bound magical girls.
46. Mecha: Possibly a stretch, but I believe the Robosaurs count.
47. Internet: Matilda the witch-seer hacks into Magical Girl Grease Pencil Marionette using this.
48. Hyperspace: The villains travel to and from the city in something called “the stream.” Also, alien civilizations clearly have FTL.
49. Lightning: Pretty Dynamo’s Thunder Bolt attack is “lightning in a can.”
50. Fire: Not just fire, but the very fire of hell, which the city has weaponized thanks to a spacetime-ripping portal gun.
53. Robots: A magical girl robot, even.
57. Dinosaurs: Robot dinosaurs from space, even.
59. Dragon: Briefly mentioned.
74. Battle Axe: The preferred weapon of Chai Square, the tea-sipping statistical troll.
76. Rayguns: Sukeban Tsubasa includes them in her formidable arsenal. In fact, she will later probably fill out a lot of the weapon categories.
77. Video Games: I think we got that covered in the more recent chapters.
78. Teleport: The villains’ preferred method of travel.
78. Computers: Including a magical gynoid. Also, there are two element 78s, probably because the computer teleported. Or something.
80. Time Travel: They have faster-than-light travel, which necessarily means time travel.
83. Storms: In addition to opening portals to hell, creating zombies, and talking smack about your mom, the demoniac conjures a thunderstorm.
85. Aliens: Many of the familiars, including Tesla, are aliens.
89. Mustache: Jake shaves the fuzz off his upper lip in the morning, so he briefly has a mustache of sorts.
92. Skulls: Even better, Voodoo Queen Natasha wears skulls for a bra.
93. Scars: Jake is unreasonably concerned about Dana getting one of these.
99. Holograms:
 Including Marionette’s simulated familiar.
107. Fortress: The Dark Queen’s castle counts. Arguably, so does all of Urbanopolis.
114. Metal: Assuming this means the music, both Dana and Ralph are fans of monster metal, especially Lady/Killer and Magical Girl Metal Huntress Van Halensing.
115. Magnets: Pretty Dynamo’s Thunder Bolts, being supercharged, are powerfully magnetic.
116. My Money: What Jake has, briefly, until he pays to feed Pretty Dynamo.

Hm. Well, that’s thirty-nine elements. Pretty good so far, I think, though it’s rather shocking that we’ve had no tanks, grenades, or proximity mines. This should be easy to rectify. And I believe we’re on track to include (82) black holes, (51) liquor, (15) chocolate, (18) assassin, (25) sonic booms, (98) guitar solo, and of course (9) pirates. Magical girls’ familiars will likely fill out several of the animal-related elements.