Midterm Hiatus

There was supposed to be a post on Wednesday, but it looks like there was a little mistake.

Anyway, I have seven different midterm exams, papers, or projects due over the next two weeks. So I won’t be able to do any liveblogging for that time. There’s just too much going on.

So wish me luck and I’ll return to playing the catch up game when I’m done.

#blog stuff

Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru [1-2]

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This show is outside the focus of this blog so I won’t be covering it regularly, but it’s still worth discussing, because it’s the first brand new magical girl series since Puella Magi Madoka Magica that shows some promise. It has that cross-demographic appeal. It’s not aimed at girls, but there’s nothing really exclusionary about it.

The premise surrounds a junior high “Hero Club” who spend their time doing good deeds for the community. This slice of life start takes a quick turn into magical girl action halfway through the first episode when the younger members find out the real meaning of the club when there is an attack on Earth by mysterious beings called Vertex.

As is typical for magical girl shows aimed at the older demographic, it utilizes Real Magic, which simply put is magic that gets an explanation about how it works. Likewise the look of this magic is more in line with the Fantasy genre than the cutesy look of shoujo. The girls fight with magic blasts and weapons (or in the case of Yuna, her fists), rather than wands with hearts, stars, etc. Ditto for their outfits which wouldn’t be out of place in an RPG.

The art and animation can be both striking and a little generic. The look of the world they fight in and their enemies are really cool. The character design is the exact same style in every anime, and like I said, their outfits wouldn’t be out of place in an RPG which leads to them looking kinda generic too. But they do look cute, I’m fondest of Yuna’s design myself (it’s the year of ponytails for magical girls). The fights can look really cool (and the real time transformation in the first episode is awesome), but a longshot tends to feature conspicuous cg models.

The tone of the show is interesting, striking a middle-ground between playing the conflict realistically and light-hearted. The story addresses the natural fears from the conflict, but also mixes this with joking, sometimes in the same scene. This could either be the show’s greatest strength or lead to weak writing depending on how they balance it going forward.

If they don’t develop the story and up the stakes at some point, it might become a generic action show. They have to build up the relationships and characters more for a start. These first two episodes were mainly about action so the girls are still mainly limited to their archetype starts.

While I am talking about characters though, it’s definitely worth mentioning that one of the girls, Mimori, is in a wheelchair and she does get to be a legitimate part of the action. So give them credit there. On the other hand, I have a hard time trying to come up with a personality trait for her that couldn’t be tied to her wheel chair. Her screentime was about about her hesitance fighting because she doesn’t want to be a burden. I’m not really in a position to properly criticize that though. Perhaps it’s understandable, but not ideal?

I tend to think it’s not about Mimori’s disability though, there’s a problem with sparse characterization for everyone so far. Yuna is the standard happy and determined protagonist. Fu is the competent club president. Itsuki is the club president’s little sister. Mimori actually gets the most characterization, already overcoming an emotional difficulty. She also has the quirk of having her best friend refer to her by her family name I guess.

So the characters are a concern. Either this series is going to be a slice of life magical girl show or the stakes are going to be raised on the conflict at some point. Either option is going to require more developed and interesting characters than who we have right now. But it’s only the second episode, so there’s lots of time to grow. And it’s pretty enough to watch while waiting for that growth. I recommend checking it out.

#Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru #Yuki Yuna wa Yusha de aru #magical reviews #not shoujo

ellephedre:

magicalgirlsofshoujo:

Okay so I don’t want to make lots of comparisons to the original anime, but there’s just one thing I have to talk about. Because I know some people are upset Crystal has more romance than the original series. It makes sense, there’s a lot of people who Sailor Moon is just the thing they grew up watching. Less people tend to read manga than watch anime.

But at the same time, It bugs me when people complain about that making this version and the manga less good. Like girls only having romance things is a valid concern, but I kinda wonder if you really know what you’re talking about.

Because in the first anime every single last character had some sort of romance story at some point and all of them were actively interested in romance any time it was brought up. Here? There’s specifically girls who don’t want romance (because surprise not all girls are obsessed with it), and even the girls who do still say there’s something more important.

I mean, you can complain about how the romance is handled (how much time it takes up and etc.) but as far as showing girls don’t need to be interested in romance, the manga and Crystal are better at it than the original anime.

In concept, you are right. In the manga the girls were not obsessed with romance. But I’ve got the impression that happened because they needed to be secondary to Usagi’s romance, since the ‘something more important’ they chose over romance was always their duty to her. It was specifically said that their destiny was to be her guardians - that was what they considered their focus. To me, it was not much a feminist theme, more like a fairytale one.
The fact that they all thought of romance in the first anime, in my mind, from a narrative point of view, put them at the same level of Usagi. No one there expected them to take a step back from their personal dreams to protect Usagi for the eternity, while that was the impression I got from the manga. In that story the only one that actively disliked the idea of a relationship was Rei, while a simple love letter made Ami doubtful, Minako was obsessed with finding a guy and Makoto wanted to be a bride/wife one day. And yet, the final idea seems to see them for the eternity just as guardians of Usagi.
So the girls’ disinterest in romance in the manga didn’t smack me as truly genuine, but more like a narrative trick to focus the interest on Usagi’s romance. The only one that got a hint of another happy romance there was Chibiusa, with Helios. It seemed like the only ones that could have a happy love ending were Usagi and her daughter, since all the others were just supposed to protect them and their happiness.
It did irk me. I was glad that the first anime didn’t stress this concept so much. In there the Inners were a little too much concerned with their lack of romance, with the exception of Ami, but it was the same narrative that showed that love was not all there is to a girl’s life. Ami, Rei, Makoto and Minako were happy even without a boyfriend, busy and full of other dreams.

Okay, that’s how you read it and I actually get what you’re saying. I just don’t see the need for it to be an either/or situation. That it’s fairytale or feminist, that it’s only a narrative trick and can’t be an actual character trait. For me it’s both.

They focus on Usagi because she’s the protagonist, but they genuinely want it too. Protecting Usagi isn’t just about protecting the main character after all, it’s about protecting the future leader of Earth, and Earth. I’ve never been behind the idea that the girls gave up their dreams or romances (it’s arguable since nothing rules out things we don’t see), just that they would if they were forced to make the choice. Because even if that is the case, they gave it up something pretty worthwhile. Like I said, not just Usagi, they’re guardians protecting Earth.

And the fact that the manga did include that desire for romance for the others makes it better for me. Because these girls do like romance, like a majority of people probably do, but still don’t see it as the Ultimate Goal. Even Minako after finding out she might never get romance is okay with it, because she has an important friend she wants to find.

They consider these bonds, with girls, more important than romance with guys. Said explicitly more than once. I can’t not read that as intentionally feminist.

Anyway, the first anime was a wonderful example of female friendship, beyond what was in the manga because it made that the focus. But it can do that better and still something else not as well, because in this super specific incidence, I’m still siding with the manga. It’s literally in text: Girls that don’t need and occasionally even want romance. And I can’t help it, it bugs me on a rewatch that the original anime made Rei a little boy crazy and gave Ami a romance subplot. That when they showed them being “regular girls” it would often be about romance and chasing after teen idols. Like it’s a necessary requirement to be relateable to girls. So it’s nice to see, “I had a crush, but then I found out I was a guardian of justice and that’s so much better.”

#i am a super romantic with a livelong adoration of shoujo #who honestly has no desire to date for the forseeable future #and took a really long time to figure out that was fine and normal because of media #not until i was in my 20s really #so i think this is a good message to have #crystal act 5

I think I’m done for today. What I’m going to do to catch up is watch the episodes in my spare time here and there and then post them all together in a queue when I finish. Because it’s just too hard to find the time to liveblog these days. :|

Actually, since I’m probably going to be painting my room this weekend, I don’t think I’ll be able to liveblog the next Crystal on Saturday either. Which sucks, because it’s Minako. Dammit. Why did it have to be this way?

#blog stuff

And that’s Act 5 finally wrapped up. Even two episodes later I still think it’s the best of Crystal so far. Even with the little changes here and there. I feel this is where the staff best got what they wanted to do with it.

They make little tweaks to streamline things. Like aas great as boy!Usagi is, it’s kinda pointless, she appears like that and then immediately transforms. It’s much more the sort of thing Minako would do too, so it’s probably for the best it was taken out.

They expanded Makoto figuring out her power to add in a little crisis, which is a pretty good expansion that fits in with the issues she’s been displaying in the episode. It shows improvement in Usagi as Sailor Moon too and a possible reason for why she could be a leader.

Then the first half every single interaction between Usagi and Makoto was just gold. I love these episodes, because while the manga wasn’t able to spend a lot of time on the girls (and therefore Crystal too probably), a ton of stuff gets established right here in the beginning. You get exactly why Usagi gets along with all of these girls and why they love her. Which since so much of the story is about them protecting her is incredibly important.

Especially Makoto and Usagi, because Usagi doesn’t save Makoto from some major damage. Makoto’s having issues, but they’re more recent rather than these deep wounds. It’s fun to see Usagi make friends with her less out of admiration and more from what they have in common. Just nice little touches to show how Usagi’s relationship with everyone is different. Rei is a mature influence, Ami gives good advice (especially for school), Makoto can cheer her up the best, and Minako will at last be the girl who gets her (matching failing scores because they were at the arcade instead of studying).

Oh yeah. It’s gonna be great when they’re all finally together.

#MGS: Sailor Moon Crystal #Crystal Act 5

Look at Ami and Rei though. Makoto doesn’t know Usagi well enough yet to see why this is a terrible idea. I mean Usagi did that peptalk and everything. Rei and Ami on the other hand have seen Usagi start crying in the middle of a fight and had to rescue her in their first battles.

Ami can’t even hold back her surprise, like she wants to find a polite way to ask, “Um…are you sure?”

Meanwhile Rei is in outright shock. Her brain is just a constant cycle “Are you fucking kidding me right now?”

#Unfortunately Crystal's polite ojousama Rei won't say anything #but there will be lots of passive aggressive nudges pointing out what a TERRIBLE idea this is #MGS: Sailor Moon Crystal #Crystal Act 5 #Tsukino Usagi #Mizuno Ami #Hino Rei

"Yep, all four of you. Guardians corresponding to the planets closest to sun: Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter. And their leader Sailor moon!”

"But Venus is the second planet from the sun…"

"Shhh no one cares, Ami."

#Seriously though #you guys suck at 'One of these things is not like the other' #MGS: Sailor Moon Crystal #Crystal Act 5

Rei, please. It’s not nearly as impressive when you say it—you don’t even care about guys in the first place. You’re more likely to make them cry than cry over them.

#Look at that smile though #'Oh thank God now this is something I can get behind.' #MGS: Sailor Moon Crystal #Crystal Act 5 #Hino Rei

Okay so I don’t want to make lots of comparisons to the original anime, but there’s just one thing I have to talk about. Because I know some people are upset Crystal has more romance than the original series. It makes sense, there’s a lot of people who Sailor Moon is just the thing they grew up watching. Less people tend to read manga than watch anime.

But at the same time, It bugs me when people complain about that making this version and the manga less good. Like girls only having romance things is a valid concern, but I kinda wonder if you really know what you’re talking about.

Because in the first anime every single last character had some sort of romance story at some point and all of them were actively interested in romance any time it was brought up. Here? There’s specifically girls who don’t want romance (because surprise not all girls are obsessed with it), and even the girls who do still say there’s something more important.

I mean, you can complain about how the romance is handled (how much time it takes up and etc.) but as far as showing girls don’t need to be interested in romance, the manga and Crystal are better at it than the original anime.

#Seriously Rei dated Mamoru #REI #They gave Minako a big hang-up about unrequited love #and I mean that one's Minako #but that backstory was especially stupid so my point still stands #The original series was great #but I can't let people call this specific point its strength #sorry #MGS: Sailor Moon Crystal #Crystal Act 5

Who…who are you even looking at right now? There’s not even anyone who can see you sparkling or anything. Freakin’ loser dork I swear.

#Making fun of Mamo-chan is my favorite hobby #seriously he's such a loser in every continuity #MGS: Sailor Moon Crystal #Crystal Act 5 #Chiba Mamoru
KG