So to keep the season merry, I pass on this little video I found, by means of which you too may spend Christmas with Sailor Moon. Sort of.
Once again, we are obliged to skip ahead in SourcererZZ’s overview of the history of mahou shoujo anime due to copyright. This brings us up to the years 2005 to 2007.
This particular episode is slightly NSFW, about as NSFW as I can put on this blog.
The first title he discusses, UG*Ultimate Girls, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of, and it looks awful, a brainless cheesecake show.
Of most interest to me personally in this edition is Powerpuff Girls Z, which is bizarrely unavailable in the U.S. even though it’s based on an American cartoon. Cartoon Network needs to broadcast it as penance for what they did to the franchise in the reboot.
Notice that most of the titles SourcererZZ discusses in this episode are parodies or fanservice or both, with only two exceptions. That’s not a sign of a genre in good health.
(And, as a courtesy, I mention that the language here is Not Safe for Work, though if you have a job where you can read magical girl blogs while you’re working … I want your job. No, seriously, I want your job. Where do you work? If my boss caught me reading magical girl blogs, I’d be out on my ear.)
Since this blog is going full Utena until further notice … no, I’m kidding. Never go full Utena. But since this blog is going very Utena until further notice, I invite you to watch the video “Redundancy Girl Utena” by sudoStef.
It begins as a humor piece in which he mocks the show’s repetitious use of the transformation sequence, also known as “Utena Ascending a Staircase No. 2.” Repetitious transformation sequences in mahou shoujo used to be the norm, back when anime recycled as much animation as possible. More recently, it’s gone out of fashion.
Personally, I disagree with sudoStef. Usually, when a magical girl starts transforming, that’s my cue to get up and get another beer. But I never get tired of Utena’s, probably because I ignore the repetitious animation and just headbang to the music.
At the end of the video, and the reason I’m posting it, he does a fine job of presenting an insightful interpretation, coming at it from an angle I hadn’t thought of. I am mostly interested in Utena‘s Gnostic metaphysics and epistemology, which it acquires from Hesse’s Demian. But sudoStef is interested in what we might call its politics, and he does an excellent job of linking the ambiguous conclusion back to the various characters’ machinations and backstabbing and social climbing.
He even does it without spoilers, though as he admits, that means that unless you’ve seen it yourself, you won’t know what he’s talking about. But for me at least, this gives another way to view it.
Once again, we have to skip a chapter of SourcererZZ’s extensive history of magical girl anime because of copyright claims. This time, Pony Canyon is the culprit. So we pass over the years 2002 to 2003 and head to 2004, a big year for the genre.
As an update on my end, chapter 19 of Jake and the Dynamo is drafted and I’m currently working on chapter 20. I’d like to have five chapters in draft form before I begin posting them again, but we’ll see how that goes.
My schedule is likely to get very busy very soon. I’m likely looking at two jobs plus schooling. I’ll keep writing, but I can promise nothing in regards to speed.
I’ll often go looking up something to fact-check what I’m writing and stumble across bizarre things like this. This is a pastiche of scenes from coffee ads ca. 1950s-1960s.
Of course, the comments on YouTube are all about “sexism” or whatever, but my experience of ads from that era is that they were a lot harsher and more aggressive all-around than ads of today. In the 1960s, advertisers were unafraid to tell you that your breath stinks, or that you’ll never get a date if you’re bald, or that you can’t make coffee worth a damn.
Whether the shift in the tone of advertising is due to refinement in advertisers’ technique, or due to people today being pussies who can’t handle criticism, I leave to the reader’s speculation.
The copyright Nazis aren’t allowing us access to several of SourcererZZ’s videos on the history of the magical girl genre, so the next one I can embed is episode 8, which covers the years 1998 to 1999
He here discusses some very well-known and influential series, starting with Cardcaptor Sakura, which is possibly the most overrated magical girl franchise of all time (I’m sorry, but it’s true) by the inexplicably popular CLAMP. I was geeking out about magical girls with somebody a month or so back, and he described Cardcaptor Sakura as the story of “an adorable, innocent little girl completely surrounded by perverts.” I can’t think of a more accurate description. But I’ll rant on that at another time.
SourcererZZ also discusses the cute witch mega-franchise Ojamojo Doremi, which is known to cause cavities. Then he goes on to describe Phantom Thief Jeanne, the original manga version of which recently saw a re-release. The anime version of that one was bowdlerized from the manga.
He goes on to discuss Jubei-chan: Secret of the Lovely Eyepatch, one of the most bizarre series I’ve ever seen. Although it’s inexpressibly weird, it has an excellent story involving ancient grudges and samurai battles, but it sacrifices much-needed character development on the altar of cheap boob jokes.
Unfortunately, part 4 of SourcererZZ‘s thorough history of magical girl anime is not available in my country because of a copyright claim, so we have to skip ahead to part 5, where he starts with 1993’s superhero parody Moldiver. He continues from there through 1995. These are the years immediately after the appearance of Sailor Moon, when the genre enjoyed a surge in popularity.
I particularly enjoyed his discussion of Magic Knight Rayearth, an RPG-inspired adventure with a twist, which is the only story by CLAMP (that team of manga-ka that is both so prolific and so overrated) that I like.
Unfortunately, his sound quality is going down the tubes. SourcererZZ has always been hard to understand, but now he’s got a bad mike to go with the broken English. His description of Moldiver is more-or-less indecipherable, but he becomes intelligible shortly after that. In spite of the shortcomings (and, alas, the missing episodes), this is the most thorough overview of the genre I’ve ever come across. His research, and his insane ability to find clips from obscure cartoons from the days of laserdiscs and VHS, is quite impressive.
I continue to be impressed by SourcererZZ’s video series covering the history of magical girl anime. His presentation is professional and knowledgeable if perhaps dry.
Here he covers the bulk of the Studio Pierrot era, when the genre was still mostly tame, but could sometimes get a little sleazy.
Unfortunately, at this point in the video series, a version with accurate subtitles is apparently unavailable, and SourcererZZ’s English continues to be, at times, difficult to understand. On the plus side, if you turn on the closed captioning, it is, as always with YouTube videos, hilarious.
Why does YouTube even have automatic closed captioning when it always turns out like this?
Somebody drew my attention to this the other day, and … well, it’s just too good not to post. For a certain definition of good.
There is a plot buried somewhere under all the rapid takes. I can’t for the life of me tell you what it is, but I saw a chainmail bikini, and that’s good enough for me. Who doesn’t love chainmail bikinis?
I mean besides the SFWA, which fires people for chainmail bikinis.
I’ve never before heard of this Chris Dane Owens, but with his huge eyes and his bleached blond hair, he looks like a hero out of a shoujo manga. Apparently, there may be a film based on his music video at some point. Let us hope it’s coherent.
For some reason, I’m reminded of this:
This is the second installment of the visual history of magical girl anime from SourcererZZ. So far I’m quite impressed by this series.
Only one of the series that he discusses in this installment is readily available. The long-lost and decidedly obscure English dub of the 1982 series Minky Momo showed up mysteriously and without explanation on Amazon Video last year. Unfortunately, it’s packaged as a series of movies, each containing four or five episodes, which Amazon is selling for the exorbitant price of $14.95 a piece. The movies don’t appear to contain the entirety of the series. There are thirteen such movies, so at the current price, that comes out to a whopping $194.35.
It’s a good series, but it’s not that good.