The History of Isekai

A reader called my attention to this, a history and discussion of the tropes typical of the slew of recent anime, following on the heels of Sword Art Online, that depict a gamer otaku getting thrown into another world that looks like a sword-and-sorcery RPG.

This is a bit outside this blog’s usual scope; I admit my knowledge of this particular genre is minimal, simply because my interests run more toward shoujo anime, whereas isekai typically has male protagonists and a male target audience. However, the video does link isekai to predecessors from the ’90s like Magic Knight Rayearth and Vision of Escaflowne, which typically featured schoolgirls getting thrown into fantasy settings. Not discussed, but probably also an important influence on the isekai genre are the RPG-inspired fantasies from yesteryear like Record of Lodoss War.

In the last third of the video, the narrator explains that many of the light novels that make up the sources of isekai fantasy got their starts as web publications, and after suggesting that the isekai genre is saturated, he argues that this is leading in turn to a rise of “pure” fantasy without inserted modern characters, of which he holds up Made in Abyss as a premier example.

For recent examples of “traditional” or “pure” fantasy, I would also point to the less hyped but respectable Chaika the Coffin Princess, which was a competently made, light novel-based anime series that was something like an old-school fantasy in the tradition of Discarded Princess (because it was in fact from the same author and the same studio).

I have to confess I still haven’t watched or read Made in Abyss, though it’s on my list.

James Rolf on the ‘Alien’ Franchise

James Rolf of Cinemassacre is reposting several monster movie reviews for Fall (or what I like to call “Pumpkin Spice Season”). His overview of the Alien franchise is entertaining and informative.

I always respect Rolf’s thoughtful reviews. I have a slightly better opinion than he does (and than most people do) of Alien 3, and I note that he doesn’t mention either the bizarre, disjointed sexual subtext of Alien, nor the dependence of Aliens on the Rambo movies, but this is nonetheless a thorough set of involved reviews. His discussion of the influence of Alien on video games such as Metroid, Xenophobe, and R-Type is interesting; certainly, the influence of its set and creature design is felt still today.

And I agree with him that Alien vs. Predator: Requiem totally sucks. I don’t remember why I even saw that, but I do remember it being my second worst experience in a theater, right after Pluto Nash.

‘Miraculous Ladybug’ Season 2 Official Trailer

The official trailer for the long-awaited second season of the French CGI magical girl series Miraculous has made its appearance just today. It’s a silent montage with accompanying music. Based on what we see here, season 2 will likely follow the pattern of season 1—which would be a good thing, as season 1 was enormously entertaining, if formulaic.

Rumors have been going around for a long while that additional superheroes will appear in the second season: particularly, Internet legend has it that Marinette’s bestie Alya will acquire the fox miraculous and that her enemy Chloé will acquire the bee miraculous. There’s no evidence of such a thing in the trailer; it may be rumor, an early idea that got nixed, or something they’re still planning but decided to leave out of the preview. But the symbols on that little box, suggest, at any rate, that more superheroes should be making an appearance.

I Can’t Get Enough of These

I know these aren’t new, but I only just saw them. They’re new to me, so maybe they’re new to you.

Apparently, this Bad Lip Reading guy started doing this because his mother went deaf, so he tried imitating her skill at lip-reading and found he was genuinely bad at it. He claims he actually comes up with his gibberish lyrics and dialogue simply by following lip movements with the sound off.

I believe him. Writing stuff this goofy would be hard to do intentionally. His humor has a genuine stream-of-consciousness sound to it.

He’s actually a talented musician as well as an amazing video editor.

I Am Definitely Getting Back into Ponies after Seeing This!

Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh.

Holy horse, it’s like someone at Hasbro read my mind.

I don’t know what it is about me and movies and TV, but sometimes I think someone in Hollywood is spying me. I’ll be all like, “You know what the world needs? A Battlestar Galactica remake.” And then it happens. Or I’ll be all, “A new King Kong, but still set in the 1930s, would be awesome.” I had cause to regret that one.

A few years ago, I was all, like, “You know what this My Little Pony franchise needs? A movie that has elaborately detailed fantasy environments instead of the minimalist Flash animation of the cartoon show, where maybe Equestria gets invaded by some bad guys with airships, and the ponies have to go to Aquastria to get aid from the seaponies or something.”

I wish I had actually written that online somewhere so I could show you a link to prove it, but I didn’t. But still … holy crap.

I wet my pants when I saw this preview. Only a little bit, though. And it only happened once.

This and my novel is getting published. Best. Week. Ever.

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.