Magical Girl News

Magical Girl is a anime/manga concept
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Typical Shoujo style
Typical Shoujo style

The inspiration behind this question came when I learned that Hiro Mashima (Fairy Tail), Eiichiro Oda (One Piece), Tite Kubo (Bleach), Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto), Hidaeki Sorachi (Gintama), and most shonen artists who commented that they were inspired by Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball work in their interviews or artist comments. Plus, the concepts and cliches are recycled throughout Shonen series and many of these works reference Dragon Ball in some form.

I was wondering what was the most inspirational Shoujo series that most Shoujo artists look up to.

I guess Sailor Moon or Cardcaptor Sakura, but I didn't think so since not much anime or manga series imitated or made references to the shows. I might have to check some of the mangaka for their inspirations.

What do you folks think is the most inspirational Shoujo work for shoujo manga artists?

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Welcome to the first ever Platonic Harem Blog!

This week, we have Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka?, a strange anime that involves a zombie, magical school girls, a necromancer, and vampire ninjas.

Plot Summary

High school student Ayumu Aikawa is murdered after being fatally stabbed in the back by a serial killer. Thanks to necromancer Eucliwood Hellsythe, however, he is resurrected as a zombie. Grateful to his savior, Ayumu invites her to reside with him in his house and continue his everyday life.

Trying to take advantage of his undead life by hunting for his serial killer at night, Ayumu meets a demon-hunting, chainsaw-wielding self-proclaimed "masou-shoujou" (Japanese pun on magical girl) named Haruna. After this fated encounter in which Ayumu accidentally gets cut in half and Haruna inadvertently dematerializes her clothes while trying to magically heal him, Haruna also moves in to Ayumu's residence. Zombie Ayumu's high school life is never quite the same as it used to be.

What is a Platonic Harem?

I use Platonic to refer to harems where you have a group of girls or guys that can form a relationship with the opposite sex. However, unlike traditional harems, there could only be one relationship at a time. Platonic means every day.

Characters

Ayumu Aikawa

He's your male protagonist and a zombie who can also turn into a Masou Shoujo after absorbing Haruna's magic. He is a bit of pervert when he fantasizes about Eucliwood who refers to Ayumu as "Onii-chan." Also, he gets into tricky situations with Haruna like he does with the rest of the women who lived in his house.

Eucliwood Hellsythe

She's the female protagonist who is a necromancer with the ability to bring back the dead. Unable to talk due to her powers, she communicates with a notepad. She lives Ayumu who takes care of her.

Haruna

She's a tsundere, flat chested, Masou Shoujo girl who forgets people names except for Ayumu. After being stripped of her magic (pun intended), she lives with Ayumu and teaches him the way of the Masou Shoujo. Her specialty is cooking fried eggs that look like gold!

Seraphim

She's an extremely busty, vampire ninja who loves saying Tsubamegaeshi with her attacks. After Ayumu beats her up, she winds up living in his house. Talk about having your enemies close.

Yuki Yoshida
Aliases: Maelstrom (ninja), Tomonori (by Ayumu)

She is another Vampire ninja who attacks with Tonkotsu Ramen soup. After she rescues Ayumu and Haruna from Megalos who love tentacle rape, Ayumu makes an accidental move on her, a kiss, that makes them husband and wife due to her customs.

Taeko Hiramatsu

She is a normal girl who has a crush on Ayumu (revealed in an OVA), and in season 2, she has a fetish for Ayumu's legs.

Sarasvati

She is a Vampire Ninja and the superior of Seraphim. She is very conservationist who upholds traditions with utmost priorities. In season 2, she has a fetish for Ayumu's butt when Ayumu exposed his naughty bits at school after Mystletainn broke.

Orito
He is Ayumu's best friend. Even though he may not have a thing for Ayumu, in the ending credits tells a different story. Orito is seen kissing Ayumu on the cheek.

There you have it.

Ayumu is your average zombie who ends up living with three drop-dead gorgeous ladies. Outside his home, he has two girls who loved him for his body. I just put Orito up to mess with you guys.

Thank you for reading this strange blog that I made up on a whim.

Takashichea

Go Anime Vice!

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I think Sergio Leone would be proud of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
I think Sergio Leone would be proud of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
With impromptu Mexican Standoffs and minimalism in approach - especially in how the witches' worlds are rendered - the only thing Pulla Magi Madoka Magica is missing from being a spaghetti western other than not being Italian or a Western is how it definitely doesn't have a low budget. 
 
I mean even the music of Once Upon a Time in the West edited cleverly into scenes of Madoka's 10th episode perfectly fits with the atmosphere of the moment, as demonstrated by the below YouTube video: 
   
  
It might just be me for being impressionable when it comes down to what I'm interested in, but isn't that intense? 
 
I'm not that much of a perceptive film buff, but in hindsight I felt framing that whole part of Homura's Flashback as a Mexican Standoff was genius!  

 Does this image not lend itself to being interpreted as a Mexican standoff? Granted, it happened a lot more quickly than typical Western Mexican standoffs go, but the tension was definitely there!
 Does this image not lend itself to being interpreted as a Mexican standoff? Granted, it happened a lot more quickly than typical Western Mexican standoffs go, but the tension was definitely there!
It had me thinking: there is a poetic, literary quality behind the tragedy and moral ambiguity of the show's titular "pulla magi" trading off their souls and objectifying them into gems in order to get a philanthropic wish granted, only to be dragged into a zero-sum life of fighting witches at the seemingly inevitable risk of dying and/or becoming witches themselves while enduring even more misfortune possibly produced out of the granting of their wishes. Don't even get me started on their whole spin on the metaphysics of entropy relative to the universe. 
 
Having been so thoroughly impressed upon watching its first episode about two months ago and describing it to people as "Magical Girl's Neon Genesis Evangelion," I am standing by that claim and would even like reiterate it. Essentially, I've sensed that Puella Magi Madoka Magica is to the Magical Girl genre what Neon Genesis Evangelion is to the Mecha anime: a cerebral deconstruction of the genre's recurrent themes and "tropes," as many would refer to them.      
 
For those unfamiliar, deconstruction essentially refers to taking apart something in order to further analyze or expand upon it. In context with the Magical Girl genre and Puella Magi Madoka Magica, the anime series essentially breaks down the ideal Magical Girl by twisting, deforming and outright breaking her to the point that feel sympathetic towards her and see her in a new light (or darkness, more appropriately.) There's a lot more pathos in this anime than one would expect.

This magical girl is broken, someone euthanize her - quick!
This magical girl is broken, someone euthanize her - quick!
With regards to the image above, for those familiar with Mami Tomoe, I'm not even sure how much worse that was than having her devoured only to be spit out as a wad of digested black goo anticlimactically. (And that was a lot earlier on in the series than anyone expected.) Poor girl.
 
This isn't even my first blog post singing praises for this Winter 2011 series. While this show isn't even over yet, Puella Magi Madoka Magica promises to end most magnificently and is my favorite Winter 2011 anime series. I'm almost certain that this will eventually make its way stateside, and I'm definitely going to put down my money into purchasing it! 
 
So, do you enjoy seeing deconstructions? Can you think of other good examples? Bad ones, even? 
 
Thanks for reading!
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If you haven't had enough magical girl with Mahou Shoujo Madoka and want to see what else the genre has to offer, then you might want to check out After School Pleiades or Suite Precure. After School Pleiades is an ONA created by Gainax sponsored by the car maker Subaru. Pleiades only has 4 episodes, each 5 minutes each. For what it's worth, I think Pleiades worked really well within it's own limits. Sure there's hardly any character development, but it really gets the fundamentals of the genre and creates a lovable, cute, well-animated anime. Sorry I only took 2 screenshots but if you want here's an article from Sankaku with plenty of screens (website is NSFW):
The main character is a pink-haired girl named Subaru. One day she discovers a few of her classmates dressed up funny. She doesn't know what is going on and spends alot of time saying, "nani??!" as she gets swept along on crazy magical flying staffs and helps her friends save the world from stealing their magical star/engine thingies. There is almost no depth at all with the characters or plot, very predictable, but it is all animated and presented very well, that I enjoyed it very much, not amazing, but great nonetheless. 
 
Suite Precure just aired, and I figured I'd check it out. I enjoyed the first few minutes, mostly because I was laughing at the premise that it was setting up. Essentially there are two kingdoms, Major Land and Minor Land. The leader of Major Land, Aphrodite, holds a concert ceremony (annually or something) where this musical piece is played that heals everyone that listens to it. But, oh no! The evil leader of Minor Land has interrupted the performance and wants to rewrite the score as a Melody of Sadness and make everyone feel miserable! And so Aphrodite scatters the notes of the score to various parts of the kingdom, and says that there will be Precure warriors who will fight against the evil leader of Minor Land! 


Yes, I couldn't stop laughing. But then it shifts over the the recognizable high-school setting. Two girls who used to be friends, and sing in harmony together have recently been getting into arguments. It turns out these girls are the special Precure warriors that were destined to protect the sacred Melody of Happiness! And the episode ends with their magical girl transformation sequence.
 
In Precure I found myself being annoyed by how crazy skinny all the girls are. The creepy 3D Miku-like dance sequence during the ending didn't really help either. I didn't really find either of the female characters in Precure likable. I imagine that if I continue watching this, I will continue spending more time laughing AT the anime than with it. 
 
One thing that I appreciated though was the musical references. If you listen to music that makes you happy, chances are it is written in a Major key signature, whereas if you listen to music that makes you anything other than happy, chances are it is written in a Minor key signature. Musicians do this all the time when they make music. I found it hilarious that there is this artificial divide between the two kingdoms Major and Minor. And in the beginning, although I don't have a screenshot of this, it shows the audience listening intently and happily to Melody of Happiness, but then when they play the Melody of Sadness everyone starts crying. This is interesting to me because it brings up the question, whether music is meant to make you think, or is music supposed to just elicits certain emotions (like happiness or sadness)? I had some flashbacks to Fractale Ep 3 when this scene came up. 
 
With that said, I don't think this anime is going to get much deeper than that. I'm afraid if I keep watching, I'll just eventually get annoyed by the characters and the stereotypical plot, so I may end up dropping this series, we'll see.
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With an abstract, ominous magical setting reminiscent of German Expressionism along with dark, unpredictable plot developments, Puella Magi Madoka Magica has proven not only to be a standout Winter 2011 title, but a potential watershed series in the Magical Girl genre. At the end of its first quarter, Madoka Magica demonstrates a self-awareness of its ominous themes and explores them ambitiously - unafraid of dealing even with death.               
 This beautifully animated series not only executes its setting perfectly, but also enhances it by implementing high-contrast lighting and a wide-ranged color scheme, as demonstrated by the images above and below.  
 This beautifully animated series not only executes its setting perfectly, but also enhances it by implementing high-contrast lighting and a wide-ranged color scheme, as demonstrated by the images above and below.  
Allow me to first elaborate on how I've described Madoka Magica as a Faustian Magical Girl. Beyond its grim, abstract setting and nature, there is a critical point behind how magical girl contracts are formed in the universe of Madoka Magica that makes it Faustian: magical girls can gain their powers and contract only if they make a wish. Due to the nature of the contract, the consequences of the wish are irreversible. The contracted magical girls are then obligated to "return the favor" for the wish by indefinitely fighting against witches (the mysterious source of this series' abstractions as well as imbalance in the magical world that sometimes puts our own world at risk) no matter whether or not the products of the wish were actually agreeable to the magical girl in the long run. As such, the magical girls in question risk betraying their moral integrity for outcomes they may not have necessarily wanted. In the cases of Madoka and her best friend, Sayaka, they additionally risk losing the security and comfort of everyday life. 
 
  One of the comforts of everyday life: after school tea time. (From left to right in the above image: Madoka, Sayaka, Mami)         
One of the comforts of everyday life: after school tea time. (From left to right in the above image: Madoka, Sayaka, Mami)         
 After school tea time, canceled.
 After school tea time, canceled.
Our protagonist, Madoka, is a lucky girl (along with Sayaka, who is her classmate and also a girl lacking magical powers but sticks around with her and works actively to protect her). She is able to get a glimpse of the world of magical girls after a strange turn of events following a dream foreshadowing how drastically her life was about to change. Not only that, but she is soon able to find a mentor in the form of Mami - a competent, mature upperclassmen girl well submerged in the world of magical girls. She can defeat most witches effortlessly through her skills of conjuring and firing multiple matchlock rifles and pistols on command.
Notice how beautiful, vibrant girls (Mami above) are nicely juxtaposed to these sinister, alien settings. 
Notice how beautiful, vibrant girls (Mami above) are nicely juxtaposed to these sinister, alien settings. 
As a foil to Mami we have Homura, another powerful magical girl who actually wants to prevent Madoka from becoming one as well. It is actually Homura who is the defeated magical girl from Madoka's initial dream foreshadowing her introduction to the world of magical girls. While Homura isn't explicit about the reasons why she does not wish for Madoka to get involved, she warns her about possibly having to turn away from both family and friends in order to become a magical girl. It is clear through Homura's quiet indignation and the clues she's dropped thus far that probably she has had some bad experiences in her past. 

Homura literally doesn't even share the vibrancy of the other characters!  
Homura literally doesn't even share the vibrancy of the other characters!  
Most intriguing and at the center of this is the enigmatic familiar, Kyubey. While at the surface Kyubey appears as a benign minister of magical girls, offering Madoka and Sayaka powers while even offering to grant a wish for each of them, Kyubey isn't clear about a lot of things behind becoming a magical girl like Mami is. Personally, I feel like he is the most suspicious member of the cast. Considering he is the only character we've met thus far that actually originates from the world of magic, I have a lot of questions about him.

 His face is always like that. It's almost creepy!
 His face is always like that. It's almost creepy!
What I appreciate about these characters isn't only how they're well-fleshed out, but how they also have the potential for character development unlike any I've seen from the genre. The magical world is malign to the point of being traumatizing, as certain events in these first three episodes proved. I am especially engaged in following this series  to see how Madoka will react to the twisted world of magic. She seems like a nice, honest girl and the last person I'd want to see get involved in a world like that. Considering how many clues the series has been dropping so far, though, the forecast isn't pleasant. 
 
Overall, as an anime series at its third episode, Puella Magi Madoka Magica definitely delivered the expectations I set for it when it first blew me away about two weeks ago. This series isn't simply experimenting with a malevolent magical setting, it is bringing its dark themes to the forefront and exploring it in ways unlike I have ever seen seen from any magical girl anime before this. It is putting its cute, Hidamari Sketch-like (the person who designed that franchise's characters actually also developed Madoka Magica's) characters into the worst situations possible under the most stressful circumstances. Puella Magi Madoka Magica is promising to be a thrilling ride!
 
 Is that Madoka in the eye of Mephisto?! Definitely a bad sign.     
 Is that Madoka in the eye of Mephisto?! Definitely a bad sign.     
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Hey guys,  
 
Sorry I've not being writing much here on the blog. After watching Chaos; Head I went on holiday then came back and started the new of school and well I've not really had much time for anime between Halo Reach and homework = P The little I have been watching however seems to be stuff I've already watched. Like Ghost in the Shell, Gurren Lagann and Evangelion. Not that this is a bad thing but I haven't been watching anything new (well new to me at any rate).  
 
I've just started  Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai which so far (only two episodes have been aired as of now) and I'm really enjoying it. It's quite nice to watch a more 'down to earth' anime. The characters make me smile and I think Kyosuke and Kirino play well of each other and while showing the typical 'older brother and younger sister' relationship (basically getting at each others throats all the time) its also rather endearing and fun to watch. Then there's the Okatu side of things which I find interesting as myself have never been to Japan its a nice insight on how they are viewed in Japan. Then again I find it rather ironic as its audience is probably mainly Okatu's anyways, but really thats all part of the fun.    

For you guys who haven't seen it yet. Basically, Kyousuke hasn't ever really bonded with his little sister Kirino who is basically uber popular, smart and well loved by all. She treats him with little respect until one day Kyousuke stumbles across a dating game hidden inside a magical girl anime. He quickly works out it belongs to Kirino and discovers her extensive moe anime collection.     
 

      
Anyways off to play more Minecraft and eat Dorito's! 
 
Till next time! 
 
The Triforce Fighter  
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 After making a bit of an asshole of myself in the forums again, I've decided to try fostering some of that discussion I keep bitching about, this time on a random show-to-be.

As some of you might know, spring season anime are slowly being leaked. I know it's a bit early for those of you still digging yourselves out from the cruel snow-mageddon for thoughts of birds, bees, flowers and allergies, but the wheel of fate keeps on turning, the panties keep on flashing, and the animators of a tiny nation keep on producing weird cartoons. Weird for different reasons, yes, but still...

Oops, getting too far off track. Anyways, I feel like talking about a little preview of a show I've stumbled across on this spring preview chart put out by chartfag recently. The show is called Ichiban Ushiro no Dai Maou, a show based off a manga which itself was based off a novel I will probably never read unless someone does the grunt work of translating it or I learn more than a few phrases of Japanese.

Based on what little I've seen of the manga, it looks interesting, but not quite new and radical. The story premise is thus: an orphan boy named Sai Akuto (or Akuto Sai? Can't remember which came first), raised by the church, is on his way to a slightly high-tech Hogwarts school called Constantin Magical Academy. He even meets a nice girl on the train who will become a giant tomboyish love interest later. However, when brought before the Sorting Hat...err, large crow who gives out career aptitude tests on his first day, the crow declares that he is destined to become the Maou, a.k.a. the "Demon King."

 
 Of course, that doesn't look evil at all...
 Of course, that doesn't look evil at all...

As you might guess, this kind of scares the crap out of Sai, because he was raised in a Church and planned to become a great priest and help people, whereas this Maou character was infamous for destroying a good chunk of the world before he was finally brought down. So for the rest of the story (at least what I've read), Sai is essentially running around and trying to prove to anyone he can that he's not going to become this incredibly evil guy in the future. As you might guess, most of his attempts only end up digging that hole deeper.
 
Along the way, this Sai kid builds up something of a posse (I'm tempted to say "harem" but I'm not ready to call it one yet. Chances are I will end up doing it anyway soon). There's the aforementioned violent girl with the magical wooden sword. There's a red-haired girl named Kena with the ability to turn things invisible and has a real interest in everything about rice (seriously). There's a private detective girl who happens to be a robot (don't ask me how this is possible), a little boy who only seems to be there because Sai saved him from bullies, a witch with a talking hat, and a large-breasted popular girl who just might be the one to steer Sai towards becoming the Maou for her own goals (possibly involving her brother's head in a jar...ick).
 
 The future harem of evil. Act now, and you get one free servant boy with purchase!
 The future harem of evil. Act now, and you get one free servant boy with purchase!

Based on what I've seen from the preview, and the fact that the manga appears in Champion Red magazine, I can predict that there will be a lot more overt fanservice than you might expect from this show (what am I saying? Of course I expect it!). Clothes will get ripped, tentacle monsters will be accidentally (or intentionally?) summoned, and things will have a way of working themselves out as Sai tries to find some way, any way he can to escape from his fate as the next Demon King. It seems like Zero no Tsukaima in reverse, and that's why I'm kind of interested in it.

So tell me, those of you reading this: what are the odds this will become just another forgettable fantasy anime? Does it already sound like a clone of another show, and if so, which one(s)? And how much fanservice do you think they will roll out within the first episode? My money's on "every three minutes."

Also, for those who might have missed it, a preview trailer of the anime was released quite recently:
 
 
Pokemon Black and White Looks Delicious in Motion

First video of a Pokemon battle in Black and White.

Comment & Win: One Piece Vol. 52, 53

Time for a giveaway folks! Now, act civil, we don't want anyone to get hurt in the mad rush to win.

Beginner's Guide to FLCL

Gainax's madcap, surrealist anime, broken down for new viewers.

Ballz Deep

Steve gets intimately close to Dragon Ball Z, for science!

Top 3 Awful Anime Dubs

Grit your teeth and get your ear plugs ready cause this week we're taking on the three most amazingly bad dubs of all time!

NARUTO Ch. 685 Review

In some ways, NARUTO is becoming the TWILIGHT of manga.

TOKYO GHOUL #1&2 -- Special Review

Fancy a bit of the ol' ultraviolence, my droogies?

When JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE Gets Really Gross...

STARDUST CRUSADERS #15 -- Watch & Learn. Squatters, am I right?

Does JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE Work as a Horror Story?

STARDUST CRUSADERS #14 -- Watch & Learn. It's scary!

DRAGON BALL's Embarrassing Early Days?

#12 -- Retro Review. The monkey's even scarier!

ARGEVOLLEN #1 -- Special Review

Well, I can say the suit looks cool, at least.

Community Spotlight 7/27/2014

July is nearly behind us, and these super users are looking ahead to the Summer releases.

DRAMAtical mURDER #1 -- Special Review

Must all nerds be bullied?

DRAMAtical mURDER #1 -- Special Review

Must all nerds be bullied?

TOKYO GHOUL #1&2 -- Special Review

Fancy a bit of the ol' ultraviolence, my droogies?

NARUTO Ch. 685 Review

In some ways, NARUTO is becoming the TWILIGHT of manga.

When JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE Gets Really Gross...

STARDUST CRUSADERS #15 -- Watch & Learn. Squatters, am I right?

Does JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE Work as a Horror Story?

STARDUST CRUSADERS #14 -- Watch & Learn. It's scary!

ARGEVOLLEN #1 -- Special Review

Well, I can say the suit looks cool, at least.

NARUTO Ch. 686 Review

Things start to get heavy, but they just wind up falling flat.

TERROR IN RESONANCE #1 -- Special Review

It's slow, yet it feels... rushed?

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