Progress on Jake and the Dynamo Volume 1

I have to apologize for my absenteeism, but the combination of work and school has left me little time to sleep, let alone blog.

We’re approaching the middle of June, which means it’s soon time to ship the current draft of the first volume of Jake and the Dynamo to my editor. At the moment, I am thinking I will change the title of this volume from Down and Out in Fifth Grade, which sounds like a Beverly Cleary novel, to The Wattage of Justice, which sounds more like a goofy superhero story.

The bonus chapter is drafted, though a reader in my writer’s group wants me to change some details, and I intend to comply. I’ve also just about decided that the bonus story will be a novelette entitled “Eye of Fire.” It’s set in the universe of Rag & Muffin, but I think it makes for a nice capper because of the way it ends.

Unfortunately, I’ve been neglecting my illustrator, and I’ve put off dealing with the cover art partly because I might need the book dimensions first. We’ll make all this happen, but I can’t give an ETA yet.

I’ve been toying with catchphrases and blurbs. I originally was thinking,

The universe is out to get him … but the universe didn’t count on her.

But that sounds kind of … what’s the Internet term? Beta male? I mean, the cover art is almost certainly going to feature a little girl standing in front of a much larger guy, and I don’t want this whole thing to end up like Joss Whedon’s profile picture.

Really, Joss?

I started this project in the first place because I wanted to see if I could create a magical girl’s male sidekick who doesn’t end up looking like a total wuss. So now I’m thinking,

He’s a teenage boy. She’s a preteen powerhouse. They fight crime.

I like it because it’s silly.

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day, a day to honor the fallen soldiers who fought for our freedom.

Here at deus ex magical girl, we especially like to take the time to honor those pretty soldiers who fought for us against the monsters of the Negaverse and never asked for anything in return.

To that end, I draw your attention to the article, “Magical Girls and Their Historical Origins” by Rachael Lefler at Reel Rundown. The article includes a brief, clearly written rundown of the magical girl genre, but is most notable for its (decidedly strained) attempt to link magical girls to Japanese empress Himiko.

What if I told you, the first “magical girls” were the retinue of the first recorded Empress of Japan, Himiko? It’s true. Himiko was an elderly woman, who united a sizable kingdom in ancient Japan through political competence and charisma. She was the first head of Japan as recognized by Chinese historians, because she sent lavish gifts to the emperor of China. Himiko was reported to have maintained a large entourage of little girls around the age of 13, and they all practiced shamanism, very similar to those rituals practiced by Shinto shrine maidens today. [more …]

In any case, everyone have a good Memorial Day, and thank you for stopping by.

The Days of Hiatus

I hate (ahem) to pause the party, because my traffic indicates that our ongoing series of hate—burning hate—for Cardcaptor Sakura is my most popular posting, ever. As they say, hate sells. However, I’m sending my computer in for some maintenance, so I’m going to be offline for a few days.

As anyone reading Jake and the Dynamo knows, hating someone passionately takes a lot of energy. I therefore give you permission to love, honor, and obey Cardcaptor Sakura at least until the weekend.

The hate will continue once morale has improved.

Sailor Moon’s Prime Directives

 I always get a kick out of this.

In the animated version of Sailor Moon, Sailor Mercury gets a miniaturized supercomputer that fits in a compact, a device that doesn’t appear in the manga—and which seems kind of superfluous, since she also has a computer with a heads-up display built into her sailor suit.

The creators of the show apparently wanted some computery-looking English text to flash across her compact’s screen … so they simply stole it from RoboCop, except with a typo.

From this, we know that the sailor scouts follow the same Prime Directives as Officer Murphy. No word on whether there’s a secret, fourth directive that prevents them from arresting OCP employees.

Tomorrow …

I’m getting pinched by school projects as we’re coming to the end of the term, and I wasted too much of my Easter weekend writing that gargantuan post on Shugo Chara! instead of writing my reports.

Nonetheless … look for Chapter 26 (finally!) of Jake and the Dynamo tomorrow. I don’t think I better make a definite promise, but … look for it.

Notice it, senpai. Notice it.

Everything I Needed to Know I Learned from Magical Girls

I ran across this amusing meme while looking up stuff for some of my earlier posts over the weekend.

Back in the day, it used to be standard for Saturday morning cartoons to present some kind of heavy-handed life lesson, usually in a segment at the end where the characters would break the fourth wall and preach at the audience. On occasion, these segments could take on a life of their own, as anyone who has heard the phrase, “And knowing is half the battle,” can attest.

The DiC dub back the mid-90s added such a segment to the first two seasons of Sailor Moon, even after it had gone out of style, but the above image aptly explains why that was a bad idea. Sailor Moon is a wish-fulfillment fantasy, but Sailor Moon is not a role model. If you want the stuff Usagi has, acting like Usagi is the last thing you should do: for the most obvious example, you don’t get the Sailor Moon bod by following the Sailor Moon diet, but other examples could be multiplied.

The manga’s worse. There’s actually a chapter in there in which she’s on the phone, lying to her parents that she’s having a sleepover at Makoto’s apartment … when she’s actually sleeping with her boyfriend.

And this was a comic ostensibly aimed at twelve-year-old girls. I wouldn’t let my daughter read it. She might get ideas.

My Job Here Is Done

I noticed the traffic ticking up mysteriously last night and into today, so I said to myself, “You guys really like all that hard work I put in on the review of Sailor Moon S, eh?”

No, it actually turns out that there’s a Reddit called “AskWomen,” where someone posed the question, “What childhood crush did you have that you still cringe about today?” The answers are kind of hilarious, and include the following:

The link labeled “white tie” goes to my essay on Tuxedo Mask’s fashion faux pas. I see now that my labor in the name of men’s formalwear was not in vain.

It so happens I was thinking of writing a sequel on Haruka Tenou’s fashion faux pas. Maybe I’ll get on that.

IT DOES EXIST!

Pictured here is the Wenger 16999 Swiss Army Knife Giant, an actual product. Last time I checked, it was going for $3,999, but someone has now put one up for sale for $400, a steal.

I always carry a Swiss Army knife on my hip. I use it quite often, and I’ve been thinking about replacing my current one with a larger one with more features, especially since I’ve lost the toothpick and tweezers (I hate when that happens). If I didn’t have a still-intact toothpick and tweezers on my Swiss Army knife keychain, I probably would have replaced it already.

Right now, I’m thinking it would be great to have the Wenger 16999 on my hip, though I’d have to have a custom-made holster for it. Still, it’d be worth it just to haul it out when someone asks for a screwdriver.

Unfortunately, this is apparently a “display only” piece. According to the one Amazon review that isn’t a joke, some of the implements can’t even fold in all the way.

To find the serious reviews, though, you have to wade through dozens like this one:

Received this knife as a gift for my 18th birthday. Wish I’d have known what it was because as soon as I touched it, I grew a mustache and became a Navy Seal. Mom fainted and my dad laughed and handed me a beer. I was born a girl.

Minus 2 stars because my breasts were really nice.

Major Old-School Anime Titles Hit Blu-Ray

Format war can have a silver lining. As Blu-ray continues to replace DVDs, it seems some old anime series have come back to the market this year. I haven’t been keeping a super-close eye on this like a fanatic, so when I say “back to,” I might be speaking loosely in some cases, but still.

I only regret that, due to life circumstances, my current anime budget is zero. If it weren’t, I’d snatch these up. So, just to be clear, this is a list of stuff I want, not stuff I’m reviewing. I believe strongly in compensating artists for their work, so I don’t do bootlegs, and that has the unfortunate effect of putting a lot of gaps in my first-hand anime knowledge. I’m passing on the news of these titles because a few of these are works I tried to acquire legitimately in the past, but failed to do so. For that reason, their re-release is notable.

This is a handful of arbitrarily selected “want to see” titles based solely on my personal taste. (NOTE: You may need to turn off Adblock to see the images.)

Continue reading “Major Old-School Anime Titles Hit Blu-Ray”