Sunday, June 14, 2015

Weekly Round-UP: June 7th-13th

So there weren't any posts this week, what's up with that? Multiple family visits, a few very wordy and hard to articulate posts, headaches, and work, nothing new (well except for those family visits, I'm in the odd situation where I'm not estranged from any of my family but go months, if not years, without seeing even my immediate family and as a result absolutely nothing will get in my way of seeing them). I do think my review of Maria the Virgin Witch (hopefully posting tomorrow) is better for the break since I did actually learn a crucial fact but otherwise, sorry about that. I'm also going to say that anime reviews are not necessarily on Mondays anymore just because my work is stressful and tiring so perhaps the best thing for people to do would be to check in Tuesday nights for those reviews instead. 

I have been doing a lot of collaborative writing on Organization of Anti-Social Geniuses however and one post went up last week about one of the new Crunchyroll manga titles, Father and Son (expect another one this week and we ignored the last two new titles because they sounded bad). And hopefully there should be an announcement about a big project concerning me this summer, super excited to do it even if it means even more writing to fit into my schedule, especially with Otakon prep-crunch in full swing now....

As for what I'm watching and reading, I've mostly dropped Legend of the Galactic Heroes since I realized I was more stressed than anything else trying to fit the show into my schedule each week and just wasn't enjoying it enough to justify that. I may come back to it someday but with Knights of Sidonia 2 set to drop on Netflix in a few weeks I'll have my sci-fi opera fix soon enough (although it sounds like this season hasn't been as great). And I also had some thoughts about magical girl stories, specifically webcomics, this week and I'm dropping that below the cut for whoever wants to read. 

So, after this week's episode of Wish On the Pleiades (which was really good, the show alternates between being as average as expected and really great actually) I was in the mood for some more magical girl material and went looking through my bookmarks to see what I had in backlog. I haven't read any magical girl manga in quite a while, I don't even hear about the current titles which makes me wonder how young they must be skewing for them to be completely off my radar, and I realized that while I've tried a surprising number of magical girl webcomics (/traditional comics where I've seen a preview online) I haven't really liked any of them! There are probably one or two exceptions I'm forgetting (there was one I really liked where the character looked like a magical girl but felt more like a superhero in some ways, but the comic has been on hiatus forever so I don't actually want to name it) but yeah, my luck with finding a good magical girl webcomic is like my luck at finding good YA science-fiction, bizarrely off the mark no matter what I do.

And I've tried a lot of series and see a lot of ideas. Stories where the characters are a bit more like superheroes? Sure, but what about stories that aren't origin stories but the characters either continuing to fight or returning to it? Yep, oh and I've seen enough young adult/fully adult magical "girls" that the concept is starting to feel cliched. I've seen a few solo girls and a lot of teams which leads me to a theory: these are stories made by fans who grew up seeing far different and far less magical girl anime/manga than I did. I mean, not all of it was strictly magical girl (what the hell even is Instant Teen!/Otana ni Nuts anyway?) and quite a bit of it was terrible (Muse of Subdued Fangirling was laughing at me recently when I realized that the terrible parts of Kamichama Karin were just rip-offs of Sailor Moon, although at least SM did the "kid from the future" subplot well!) but it was variety that I don't see in these comics as much. It most likely also stems from a single person working by themselves vs a manga-ka working with an editor on storyboards and then producing each chapter, I truly do think that experienced outside voices help create a more polished comic, but I still get frustrated when I try out yet another comic and find that not only is it not drawing in ideas from other genres (like, thematic overtones or focuses on certain relationships) but that it feels like a rehash of the same two or three magical girl stories as well (like for the Pleiades show I mentioned, I can see why people are making Madoka Magica comparisons to it after the latest episode but I also totally saw Shugo Chara! influences in both the plot and the designs and those are two wildly different shows! I'm not seeing that in webcomics at all, although I have yet to see a webcomic try to go full Madoka Magica which is funny since there are at least a half-dozen heavily inspired by it anime by now). I'll keep trying them, in theory I'll eventually find a few good titles just like I have for YA sci-fi, but it's an endeavor that will end with a lot of frustration I'm afraid.

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