Evolution of the Magical Girl Anime

Featured image: “Magical Girl of Valentine’s Day” by ElynGontier

I’m busy with school, and I’m also digesting the annotations from my editor. But in the meanwhile, I refer you to The Hyped Geek, which offers yet another article overviewing the evolution of magical girl anime from Sally the Witch to the present day.

Being one of those who grew up on anime, one of my biggest and most secret fantasies was to become a magical girl. That’s right; minute long transformations with colourful lights, a cool signature outfit, speeches of love and justice and a cute animal sidekick as a guide.

While that’s how many of us would think of it, it’s a pretty generic view of what constitutes as a magical girl anime. There’s a lot more to the genre than cute young girls with powers, saving their loved ones, or even in most cases, the world, as different anime bring different and new elements that have made the magical girl genre so renowned today. So get your transformation items ready as we go through the most influential magical girl anime from its inception until today. [More …]

One of the reasons I got into this genre in the first place is that it’s narrow enough in its concerns that it plays out over time like an ongoing conversation. One cartoon or comic will come out, and another will build on it or respond to it. So, for example, Revolutionary Girl Utena is an answer to Sailor Moon, and then Princess Tutu is an answer to Revolutionary Girl Utena. More recently, Puella Magi Madoka Magica was a major game-changer, and then Yuki Yuna Is a Hero responded to it. I think this is why magical girl fans so preoccupied with tracing history, because this genre is an ongoing dialogue.

Girl Got Game II: The ‘Revolutionary Girl Utena’ Rewatch, Part 8.5, Addendum

Yesterday’s post on the 1998 Revolutionary Girl Utena visual novel for the Sega Genesis is quite popular for some reason, so let me add a few more links of interest.

I have located exactly one walkthrough for the game, presented by Rouroni Kaji on GameFAQS. It’s a text file that briefly outlines the different game paths and lists what you need to accomplish each of the game’s nine possible endings. It’s a brief outline, with no images or description, that’s meant to be used in conjunction with the game, so it’s more-or-less unintelligible by itself.

There is also a playthrough of the English fansub by Geek Sentai on YouTube. It’s divided into parts; I post only the first here.

It’s not exactly exciting to watch; visual novels are sort of like adventure games minus everything that makes them even slightly interesting.

‘Sailor Moon Crystal’ Season 4 Confirmed

Moonkitty recently tweeted the news: the struggling and embattled Sailor Moon Crystal is set to see a fourth season, which will be in the form of a two-part movie.

“The same director” means Chiaki Kon, who did a lot to rescue season 3 from the problems that plagued seasons 1 and 2, by ordering revamped character designs and improving the animation.

Otherwise, I don’t know if this is good news or bad. My opinion of Crystal has been mixed, as you can see here. A two-part movie for the Dream arc, however, might be a good idea. If they’re not working to put out an episode on a bi-weekly basis, they might have the time they need to produce something more polished.

There was confirmation as far back as late January that this was going to happen, but there’s been little other news since then that anything was in the works.

Sailor Moon’s official birthday is June 30th, so that is apparently the reason for the announcement of the fourth season, which took place at a live event as Sailor Moon News explains. I chastise myself for having forgotten such an important date. I’ll send her a “belated birthday” card.

The live event also featured some info about the new stage musical, which is unfortunately irrelevant to us over here as the musicals never make it across the Pacific, not even in a subbed video.

Signal Boost: ‘No Gods, Only Daimons’

No Gods, Only Daimons is the new military dungeon punk novel from Hugo-nominated author Kai Wai Cheah, who happens to be in my writers’ group.

Cheah is a military veteran, so he knows his stuff. He writes technically dense military action told through rapid, clipped sentences. He has both a vast knowledge of his material and an excellent command of his prose.

The post-World War III world is a radically different place where magic and technology have become one in the violent struggle for global influence between nations. The rising powers of Persia and Musafiria are challenging the longtime dominance of the weakened Western powers, as the increasing use of magic provides them with a more level playing field.

Supernatural creatures from other planes are summoned and wielded as readily as machine guns and explosives by the special forces of the rival militaries, the most deadly of which are the elite contractors for the Nemesis Program. Both conventionally and unconventionally trained, the Nemesis Program is the hidden blade of the Hesperian National Intelligence and Security Agency, a weapon as lethal as it is deniable. But although they are given considerable leeway, not even Nemesis operatives are allowed to covenant with archdaimons… which poses a serious problem for Luke Landon when a simple assassination of a scientist goes badly awry.

NO GODS, ONLY DAIMONS is the first volume of The Covenant Chronicles, an exciting new supernatural Mil-SF series by Kai Wai Cheah, the Hugo-nominated author of “Titan Strike.”

Enter the Wrongthink Sci-Fi Giveaway and Get You Some Freebies

Robert Kroese, author of Aye, Robot, is giving away free books. These are books by authors who’ve been lambasted, harried, blocked, or banned by science fiction’s publishing gatekeepers for being insufficiently politically correct.

Kroese explains here. You get seven books just for entering, including Brian Niemeier’s Nethereal, which I’d been meaning to read for some time now. That’s one I got to watch from the ground floor as it went from being a self-published longshot to having its sequel win a Dragon Award.

There’s also a chance to win seven additional novels when you enter.

At the time of this writing, there are two days and five hours left to the giveaway, which you can enter here. Tell them the Deej sent you. In fact, use my link, which gives me more chances to win.

EDIT: I just realized I watched this Robert Kroese from the ground floor, too. He used to run the Mattress Police blog, and I remember when his first novel, Mercury Falls, was a work-in-progress. Cool. I have to admit I haven’t read his books (yet), but I do know he’s a really funny guy with a cutting sense of humor you don’t want to stand in front of. I once crossed wits with him and lost.

Hat tip to Carlos Carrasco.

Parallels Between Buddhism and ‘Puella Magi Madoka Magica’

I stumbled upon this post from 2011 on Listless Ink, a post entitled “Birth of a Goddess, Madoka’s Path to Nirvana – A Study of Buddhism,” which examined parallels between the hugely successful and highly popular 2011 magical girl anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Buddhist doctrine. It’s a thoughtful and convincing essay.

It contains spoilers, of course, for the anime in question.

Let us stretch the parallels one step further. Before nirvana, all consciousness are born, die, and reborn as beings in the six domains of the Desire realm: God realm, Asura realm, Human realm, Animal realm, Preta realm, and Hell realm. This is the wheel of life, the place where Samsāra occurs.

It is surprisingly neat how the characters in Madoka Magica fit into these realms. For example, the deva that occupy the blissful God realm are way more powerful than beings in all other realms. Among their powers include a sort of telepathy and illusion construction. Moreover, one particular class of deva are passionless and sexless. Indeed, this seems a bit reminiscent of Kyubey. [more…]

The Magical Girl Workout Routine

I don't have the self-confidence to wear this to the gym.
Source: Active Apparel

I stumbled across this and found it amusing.  Someone named Hythe has revealed exactly how magical girls keep their girlish figures by proposing a magical girl workout routine.

The routine consists of several exercises, which a person is supposed to perform while listening to a musical work chosen from a set of mahou shoujo anime.  The musical selections have a sort-of logic to them.  For example, the leg routine comes, appropriately, from Princess Tutu:

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And the “burnout” at the end comes from Revolutionary Girl Utena:

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I think most of her links to the musical numbers aren’t legal, but it’s a pretty good workout. Never mind the music, since I’m out away from home a lot for work, I like to see a good workout routine I can do in a motel room. If I make a habit of this, maybe soon I’ll fit into that dress.

Not that I have a … um, I need to go work out.