the_sun_is_up: Giorno in a cloud of flower petals, making a sexyface at the camera. (giogio - faaaaabulous)
Yep.

This is one of those shows that I put off watching for a long time due to Hype Aversion. When everyone and their mother gushes about how amazing a show is, it tends to make me less keen to watch it because I know that nothing on Earth could possibly live up to all that hype. But once in a while, a show will subvert this principle and will actually turn out to be just as good as everyone said it was, and Utena is one of those cases.

This show is such a mindfuck that I don't even know where to start, so I'll just throw out some general observations:

1) It's pretty clear that the Utena staff were working with an uncomfortably small budget, and I'm impressed at how they were able to make all those animation short-cuts look so good. Silhouettes, monochrome, still frames, those Shadow Girl sequences — they're all obviously done to save money, but the show works them in so seamlessly and appropriately that they end up looking like purely artistic choices.

2) Watching this show is really exhausting, because I already know that a lot of it is drenched in symbolism and hidden layers of meaning, so even though I'm trying to just kick back and enjoy it, I keep catching myself overanalyzing it and focusing on random minutiae because I know that anything weird or seemingly incomprehensible was probably put there for a reason.

3) Regarding Miki's stopwatch: He's timing the length of the dialogue. Yes, I checked, like a complete nerd, and he always starts his stopwatch when someone begins speaking. Sometimes he'll time a large stretch of dialogue, and sometimes just one line, so I'm not sure what (if anything) he's focusing on, but his compulsive stop-watching is definitely dialogue-related.

4) So throughout the show, there's this border that pops up a lot: four roses in the corners of the screen, all spinning and usually color-coded depending on which character is onscreen. I love how when Chu-Chu is first introduced, the border shows up again, except the roses have been replaced by spinning bananas. LOL.

5) Nanami is one of my favorite characters so far. She makes such a great butt-monkey. I love that long gag in episode 4 where she's trying to sneak creepy crawlies into Anthy's belongings in order to expose Anthy as a weirdo and make Utena and Miki dislike her, but she keeps discovering that Anthy is already keeping creepy crawlies in her belongings, and Utena knows about it and is pretty much resigned to it, and Miki actually thinks it's cute. Relatedly, OCTOPUS BALLOON.

6) My other favorite characters so far are the Shadow Girls. They are a riot! I loved that one sketch where they're portraying a duel as an old West gun fight, and a shadow of a tumbleweed goes rolling by, and then someone carries a potted cactus by in the foreground.

7) Already shipping Utena/Anthy. Come on, how could I not? Also shipping Touga/Saionji, because they're pretty, dammit. Also because I've been spoiled for some later reveals about their relationship. I'm also appreciating the massive amounts of Utena/Wakaba LesYay. And lol @ that bit when Wakaba jumps onto Utena piggyback-style as usual, except she does it so enthusiastically that she almost topples them both headfirst out of the second-story window. And then Utena's like "Uh, that was kind of dangerous" and I'm like "NO KIDDING."

8) Feminismmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Om nom nom delicious.

9) Why does everyone refer to Utena's uniform as the boys' uniform? I don't see any of the boys wearing Daisy Dukes.

10) When the girls receive their ball gowns from Touga, and Utena's like "Ewww it's all pink and foofy," I was like "I know right, it'll totally clash with your hair!" Okay, it sounded funnier in my head.

11) After watching way too many crappy modern moe shows, the art style of this series is like a breath of fresh air to me. Noses! The characters actually have noses! I'm so happy I could cry! And instead of being teenagers who look like five-year-olds, they're teenagers who look like adults! So refreshing. And did I mention the noses? Guh, I will never get tired of seeing Utena's nose in profile. <3__<3

And at the risk of stating the obvious: this show really really good. Like, everything about it is really good. I just want to dissolve it in water and swim around in it.
the_sun_is_up: Satan from Dinosaur Comics saying "What, what, I am in hell and that is the worst thing I've ever heard!" (dinos - the worst ever)
Okay. Okay. Yeah.

So this Magical Girl Project thing. In an ideal world, I would watch every episode of every single show included in the project, but for various reasons, this just isn't practical. As a compromise, I've been trying to watch at least a few episodes of every show, so that I can have a first-hand opinion on it and get a general feel for what its deal is. Unfortunately, this does mean every show, even the horrendously bad ones, and there are two shows in particular I've been dreading having to watch. Moetan was one. Ultimate Girls is the other.

To explain why, allow me to simply describe the premise of the show:

Our leads are a trio of schoolgirls, natch. One is a shy, quivering, trembling moeblob who's frequently on the verge of tears, one is a perky otaku chick, and one is an ice queen who secretly has a quivery moe filling. They're tasked with protecting Tokyo from giant Godzilla-esque monsters. They do this by transforming into giant versions of themselves, clad in superhero spandex, so that they can fight the monsters head-to-head. Unfortunately, their power is on a time limit: shortly after transforming, their clothing starts to shred off. However this is a good thing, because their superpowers run on something called M.O.E., which is a silly acronym that basically means "female shame at being naked in public." The more embarrassed the girls become at their disintegrating clothes, the higher their power level rises.

The otaku chick is the only one who reacts to the shredding clothes with some level of poise by going "Eh, I'm a badass superhero, a little nudity isn't going to hurt," but of course since their powers run on shame, this means that she's the weakest of the bunch and gets curb-stomped on her first mission because she failed to generate the necessary levels of humiliation. On the other hand, the ineffectual wibbling too-moe-to-function protagonist is the one with the strongest power, even though she's also the least effective fighter, the most reluctant about the whole superhero gig, and the most traumatized by the public nudity. Early on, before the source of their power is revealed, the ice queen chick has the bright idea to grab some banners off a nearby skyscraper and fashion herself a makeshift bandage bikini. But of course this cripples her power, and the mascot mentor tells her that she needs to strip off the bandages right away and succumb to her shame if she wants to beat the monster.

Also, the news media nicknames the three girls based on their breast sizes.

I just. I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THIS, YOU GUYS. Like, I would try to do some kind of feminist analysis of this dreck, but my feminist faculties have thrown up their hands and given up. No scratch that, they haven't just given up — they're gone, they've bounced, they're sacked out on a beach in Tahiti knocking back daquiris. But do I even need to analyze something like this? I feel like it kind of speaks for itself!

As for its place in the Magical Girl genre, Ultimate Girls is going about its work with tongue firmly in cheek, spoofing both the MG genre and the Ultraman franchise. The show is actually kind of funny when it's not being awful — when the girls transform in eps 2 and 3, we're treated to a photograph of the Tokyo skyline with an arrow pointing to a location in the city, and a caption saying "So-and-So is transforming here, please wait," and there's a loading bar showing the girl's progress — and there are some neat shout-outs to other Magical Girl shows, like in the first episode when the heroine ends up in a cosplay outfit of Corrector Yui (both shows have the same director). I feel like there's a halfway decent fun silly Magical Girl parody in here somewhere, buried under all the DEAR GOD PLEASE STOP.

Also, Ultimate Girls is (obviously) a very extreme example of making a Magical Girl show for a male audience. It's like the showrunners were trying to wring as much cheesecake and moe pandering out of the genre as was humanly possible. I haven't yet mentioned the transformation sequence, in which the robotic mascot sticks out a rod that looks suspiciously like a penis, and the girl grabs ahold of the rod, causing the mascot to have an orgasm and spray thick white fluid all over the girl which then turns into her new clothes. Then we're treated to several zoomed-in shots of her spandex-clad crotch. It's some of the sleaziest, creepiest camerawork I've ever seen in a fanservice anime. This may be a show about superheroes who are powered by shame, but it's clear that the showrunners have no shame whatsoever.

Speaking of the showrunners, Ultimate Girls was made by a studio that appropriately enough call themselves "m.o.e." The acronym stands for "Masters of Entertainment." Seriously. Guys, methinks you would've been better served to just paint a target on your chest, especially since you're the studio who made CosPrayers. And indeed, the Irony Gods did not let this act of hubris go unpunished: Ultimate Girls was the last show made by the studio, in 2005, and since then it looks like they've kicked the bucket. Pardon me while I completely fail to hide my glee.
the_sun_is_up: Agatha from Claymore walking magnificently, with the text "I should have known each dress you own is a loaded gun." (claymore - the ultimate femme fatale)
Today on the Magical Girl Project, we have the other Proto-Magic-Warrior OVA that came out in 1985 alongside Genmu Senki Leda and which also features a chainmail-bikini-wearing sword-swinging heroine: Dream Hunter Rem.



Dream Hunter Rem is a peculiar case of a series that started out as hentai but switched to ecchi after the first episode. I've heard of this happening in between adaptations, like a porno game or OVA that gets adapted into a clean tv series, but never within the same series. In Rem's case, the switch happened because the creators found out that people liked the plot. Hey, I guess some people really do "read it for the articles"! Having seen the first episode, I now understand why: the porn bits are actually rather sparse and not very good, while the plot and premise are much more interesting. The show also spawned a two-episode sequel, New Dream Hunter Rem, which came out in the early 90s.

At this point I should admit that all my opinions on this show should be taken with numerous grains of salt because I could only find it in unsubbed form. It's kind of difficult to analyze a show when you can't understand what the hell anyone's saying, but I'll try anyway!

Rem is a green-haired teenage (?) girl who moonlights as a paranormal private detective. Basically she enters peoples' dreams and does battle with the demons that possess and torment people while they sleep. In the dream world, she wields a laser sword, and in the real world, she has a revolver loaded with silver bullets and a couple of rocket launchers mounted to her car. She's assisted by her adorable sidekicks, a kitten and puppy who can transform into larger ferocious versions of themselves during battle, and she also has a Buddhist monk friend, Enko, who always swings by in the nick of time to save Rem whenever she's in a sticky spot, although the show uses this device way too frequently for my liking. I guess it's because this is an ecchi show, and the male viewers like seeing cute girls get tied up, but the show's over-reliance on having Tuxedo Monk rescue Rem from James-Bond-esque death traps kind of undermines her status as a badass action hero.

However Rem does get in some pretty memorable moments of badassery, like when she's about to get chomped by a huge toothy monster, so instead she dives into its mouth and slices it apart from the inside, or in the hentai pilot episode, where she's getting tentacle-raped by a monster's glowing laser-tentacle-wang, and she retaliates by shooting the laser-tentacle back out of her cooch and spearing the monster with it. Like, holy shit, girl must do a lot of Kegels. She also has some very impressive driving skills. Seriously, she would not be out of place on the streets of Los Angeles.

As far as its place in the MG genre, Dream Hunter Rem is a Proto-Magic-Warrior show like Cutey Honey and Devil Hunter Yohko, and therefore it doesn't adhere to all the conventions we've come to expect in Magic Warrior shows because, well, those conventions hadn't been established yet. For starters, Rem is naturally magical, as opposed to being given magic; in fact, her magic comes from her ancestors just like Devil Hunter Yohko's does. Also, the show starts in medias res; unlike in most MW shows which open with the heroine receiving her powers, it's clear in the first episode that Rem's been doing this for a while now. Rem does have the requisite cutesy sidekicks, but they actually help out in fights rather than dispensing wisdom, guidance, and new gadgets. Speaking of gadgets, Rem has no transformation trinket, although she does have a very brief transformation sequence, and instead of magic wands, she uses conventional weaponry, though she does use a magic flute in one episode.

As a side note, I'm intrigued that all four of the pre-Sailor-Moon Magic Warriors (Cutey Honey, Rem, Yohko, and Leda/Yohko) used the same thing as their main weapon: a sword.

Also similar to its Proto-Magic-Warrior peers, Dream Hunter Rem is very enthusiastic with the gore and tits. Rem gets all the flesh melted off her bones twice (although she quickly pops back to life again which is pretty funny) and the show is a bit torture-porn-ish in places, since most of the demons' victims are attractive young women whom we get to see ripped apart in loving detail. At one point, Rem also gets impaled by three giant phallic spikes which made me rather suspicious. On the tits side of things, in addition to Rem's amusingly inadequate "armor" and the frequent strategically-placed clothing damage she sustains, there's also an episode where Rem attends a girls' school and of course they milk that for all it's worth. Though I guess I can't really complain about that one because woohoo LesYay!

Anyway, I'm enjoying these old Magic Warrior shows. It's fun to see what the genre was like before it really became a genre. And I'm amused to note that there's one way in which Rem does adhere to genre tradition: she dresses almost entirely in pink and red.
the_sun_is_up: Kyoko and Moko from Skip Beat standing inside a heart shape, smiling cutely at each other. (skip beat - so adorable and gay)


Today on the Magical Girl Project, I'm sampling two shows with very similar premises from the same era: Risky Safety from 1999 and A Little Snow Fairy Sugar from 2001. Both shows involve miniature apprentice-level Magical Girls who travel to the human world in order to pass a test that will allow them to become fully-fledged magic users, with said test requiring the collection of MacGuffins. Both are also early examples of cutesy-wootsy Magical Girl shows made for a male audience.

A Little Snow Fairy Sugar is about an adorable pink-haired apprentice Season Fairy named Sugar. Season Fairies are in charge of creating weather in the human world; Sugar’s specialty is snow, which she creates by playing a magic flute. After arriving in the human world, Sugar promptly passes out from hunger and is discovered by the muggle heroine, Saga. Saga is a control freak; she likes to have her day all neatly planned out and diligently sticks to her schedule. However, now that ditzy, playful, fish-out-of-water Sugar is staying at her house, you can bet that Saga’s carefully-laid plans are all going out the window. Two of Sugar’s friends quickly join them, Salt the sun fairy and Pepper the wind fairy, and when you add the fact that Saga’s the only human around who can see the fairies, you have a recipe for ~*~wacky hijinks!~*~

Risky Safety is about an adorable apprentice shinigami named Risky who has come to Earth to collect souls. She happens upon the muggle heroine, Moe, who is depressed after being rejected her crush and is longing for death. However, before Risky can make Moe’s wish come true, she’s interrupted by her brain-roommate. See, Risky is sharing a body with an apprentice angel, Safety, and who’s in control of their shared body depends on the overall mood: happy events make Safety come out, sad events make Risky come out. The duo move in with Moe and continue to fight over her soul, with Risky trying to claim it and Safety trying to save it, and when you add the fact that Safety has a magical bow whose arrows can make people fall in love with the first person they see and the first arrow she fires accidentally hits a Pomeranian, you have a recipe for ~*~wacky hijinks!~*~

I was expecting my reaction to A Little Snow Fairy Sugar to being something like “UGH IT’S SO CUTE AND SACCHARINE I’M GONNA BARF.” However I was pleasantly surprised by how un-painful the experience was. Make no mistake, ALSFS has cuteness gushing out of its every twee orifice, but the cuteness has a certain Disney-esque sincerity to it that saves it from being nauseating.

Risky Safety is a more subdued affair, and the sweetness is balanced out by Risky’s more tomboyish, rude, and growly-voiced brand of cute. The quieter tone is complimented by a muted color palette of browns, greys, and creams, in contrast to the more candy-colored ALSFS, although I think Risky Safety is almost too muted, like someone leaned too hard on the desaturate button.

As far as content, both shows are Cute Witch stories at the core, with the added twist of the magical girls being miniaturized and invisible to everyone except their one muggle friend, whose role in the story is consequently expanded. ALSFS tweaks things a bit by having one of the heroine’s posse be a Magical Boy, and adding a couple more Magical Boys later on. Risky Safety is a more interesting twist on the genre due to the sharing-a-body schtick and the fact that the two magical girls are directly at odds with one another, and the evil-ish one is also the slightly more prominent one in the story.

An interesting thing about both shows is that they were among the earliest male-aimed Magical Girl shows on broadcast TV, coming soon after the success of Cardcaptor Sakura and a few years before Nanoha and the height of the moe craze. Also, both shows are almost completely devoid of fanservice and could easily be mistaken for kids’ shows. I don’t know if these two things are related, or how — you’d think the early male-aimed broadcast MG shows would be more fanservice-heavy than later ones because they’d be less assured of success and would want to hedge their bets with lots of attention-grabbing T&A.

Also I’d like to note that even in the short time I was watching and in spite of the size difference between the heroines, ALSFS managed to squeeze in the required Magical Girl LesYay Quota: Sugar really likes to kiss people on the cheek or nose whenever she’s happy, and the first time she does this to Saga, the latter gets all blushy and flustered. A+ effort, ALSFS.
the_sun_is_up: Yahtzee's speech bubble has been censored by a black bar that has the text "horrible things" written on it. (zero p - horrible things)
Okay boys and girls, it's time to descend into the belly of the beast. It's time to examine one of the worst shows that the Magical Girl genre has to offer.

Because while I may have referred to shows like Wedding Peach and CosPrayers as the "unholy abominations" of Magical-Girl-dom, I was mostly being facetious. Aside from some gross T&A in CosPrayers, those two shows are pretty harmless, with their greatest crime being mediocrity. Neither of those shows made me feel like I needed to take a shower afterwards. Neither had me twitchily glancing over my shoulder to make sure the FBI wasn't peeking in my window. Neither made me feel queasy simply from knowing of their existence.

This is what sets them apart from today's specimen: Moetan. As you might have guessed from my intro, it's lolicon. It's a show made specifically for those guys who draw hentai doujinshi depicting Cardcaptor Sakura being brutally raped by anonymous disembodied penises. That group of people was apparently large enough that someone in the anime industry felt it was financially sound to make an entire show for that demographic and broadcast it on TV.

Also I just found out that the director of Moetan is the same guy who directed my beloved Getsumen to Heiki Miina. I may feel the need to sob loudly into my pillow during this review.

Actually I must be getting jaded, because the loli fanservice in Moetan didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. I guess Kodomo No Jikan desensitized me to such things, or maybe I was distracted from the fanservice by some of the other stupid features of the show. For starters: What the hell is going on with the characters' ages?

Moetan presents us with a couple of heroines who are clearly children, and then it tells us that they're actually 17 years old. I can only assume this was a pathetically flimsy attempt to provide guilt-free lolicon — "she may look 10, but she's really 17, so it's okay!" — because there is no part of me that believes that the heroine of Moetan is 17. She looks like a little kid, she acts like a little kid, she dresses like a little kid, she walks like a little kid, she talks like a little kid, to the point where the whole "oh but she's rly 17, you guys" thing is just insulting our intelligence. If you're going to make a pedo-bait anime, you could at least own it.

However, I might be able to overlook the bone-headed "she's really 17" contrivance if the show itself didn't constantly keep banging on about it. The other characters will constantly tease the two heroines for looking like elementary-schoolers/behaving like elementary-schoolers/having the intelligence of elementary-schoolers, and while this is ostensibly just a way of provoking that cutesy "stop treating me like a kid!" reaction in the girls, I can't help getting stuck on the fact that the other characters are totally right. Moetan, why do you keep pointing out your own bad writing? Are you trying to do some kind of ironic self-referential humor thing? Because it's not working! If you know that making the heroine 17 was a stupid decision, then the fact that you did it anyway just makes it worse, and constantly pointing this out just makes you look even dumber.

Actually self-referential "humor" is a problem throughout this show. Moetan comes across as a weak attempt at parody, not understanding that a true parody needs to have more substance than just pointing at a trope and going "look everyone, it's a trope!" In the first episode, the transformed heroine teaches her love interest to say the phrase "Don't you think magical girls look the same after they transform?" in English. Moetan, congratulations on noticing something that everyone who has ever watched Sailor Moon has made fun of. But the show doesn't do anything interesting with the Clark Kenting trope, it just points it out, like the writers expect a gold star for having eyeballs in their faces.

This problem with channeling Captain Obvious isn't even restricted to the failed parody elements — the mascot characters suffer from it too. These mascots serve double-duty as the audience surrogate characters, meaning that they spend a lot of time drooling over all the hawt loli ass that's on display. But the writers apparently thought all that literal drool wasn't enough to get this concept across: the mascots also make frequent comments on how hot the girls' outfits are, how pervy the transformation sequence looks, etc etc, and dude. Dude. I FUCKING NOTICED. I noticed that the 10-year-old girl is wearing clothing that appears to be made of wet tissue paper. I noticed this because the camera ZOOMED IN on her extremely detailed ass and taint area SEVERAL TIMES. YOU DO NOT NEED TO POINT THESE THINGS OUT TO ME IN THE DIALOGUE.

Seriously, those bits of dialogue are like the show is throwing up a big neon sign saying "YOU MAY NOW BEGIN JERKING OFF." Sorry Moetan, but I'm pretty sure your audience starting doing that during the opening credits. I doubt they're going to wait for your prompting.

Umpteen paragraphs in, and I haven't even talked about how dull the show is. Thank god for the nauseating bits of "I DIDN'T NEED TO SEE THAT" loli fanservice jolting me into wakefulness, because aside from that and the weak attempts at humor, this show is just a boring pointless slog. There's hardly any action in it! I mean surely a big part of Magic Warrior shows, especially those aimed at men, is rousing bombastic fight scenes, but so far Moetan has devoted only a tiny bit of its time to Monster-of-the-Week fights. Things perked up a little in Episode 4 when the Dark Magical Girl showed up to wreck some shit, but even that was pretty brief.

So in the end, Moetan surprised me by having loli fanservice be only one of its many problems. Snip out all the prepubescent vulva shots and this show would still be a worthless piece of crap.
the_sun_is_up: Panty looking excited, with her hand on Stocking's abdomen. (psg - PEEKABOO PEEKABOO PEEKABOO)
Today I sampled two vicious parodies of the Magical Girl genre, both directed by the same dude: Dai Mahou Touge and Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan.



Dai Mahou Touge is about Punie, the princess of the magical world who has travelled to Earth as part of a test to prove her worthiness as future queen. She dresses in red, she wields a magic wand, and she's joined by a cutesy plushie-looking sidekick with a squeaky voice and a verbal tic, a shy buxom bespectacled muggle best friend, and a Dark Magical Girl rival who wears all purple and wields a scythe.

So basically it's a completely standard and cliché Cute Witch anime. Except that the magical world is a fascist dictatorship, the Dark Magical Girl is the daughter of the good king and queen who were violently overthrown by Punie's tyrant mother, the cutesy sidekick is a hardened cynical badass who only accompanies Punie because she brutally beat him into submission and to this day he's constantly trying to kill her whenever he gets the chance, Punie's magical incantation is "Lyrical Tokarev, Kill Them All!" and her wand has a big red eyeball on it that pops open with a revolting SQUELCH whenever she casts a spell. Also Punie herself is a ruthless bloodthirsty sociopath who prefers to use excruciating submission maneuvers in lieu of magic when subduing her opponents and who is willing to do anything and kill anyone to get her way. One time she dropped a nuclear bomb on the school because she didn't want anyone to find out that the princess of the magical world was bad at math.

Basically it's like if Azula starred in a Magical Girl anime.

And as you'd expect from that summary, it is a barrel of laughs, although you must have a strong stomach for pitch black comedy and cringe-worthy violence. It's really quite a joy to watch Punie merrily skipping around causing mayhem and stomping all over our expectations about what this kind of show is supposed to be like. The show is also graced with a healthy dose of Japanese weirdness — at one point, Punie brings a bunch of vegetables to life and we get to see a sentient potato very seriously commit seppuku with a potato peeler before nobly flinging himself into a soup pot — and amusing shout-outs to other canons — the cutesy mascot's backstory has a bunch of references to gritty U.S. war films, an Alien facehugger makes a cameo, and when the queen is listing off the other witches she beat out for the throne, she mentions Sally, Akko, Majokko Meg, and Minky Momo. Plus Punie herself is a really fun character in a weird way. Of course she's the worst person in the world, but she's very good at being the worst person in the world, and I have to admire how audacious, no-holds-barred, and downright badass she can be.

Anyway, I think this is a pretty excellent parody of the Cute Witch genre and I recommend it.

Then I watched the first episode of Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan, and to my dismay I discovered that it's pretty clearly a Magical Girlfriend/Magical Harem show where the protagonist is the male lead, meaning that it's disqualified from inclusion in my project. Much as I hate making changes to my master list this late in the game, I'm going to have to delete Dokuro-chan from all my data.

On the upside, that means I don't have to watch any more of it, which is good because it looked pretty crappy. It relies too heavily on gore, even when compared to the already gory Dai Mahou Touge, and it strikes me as a "parody" that tries to eat its cheesecake and have it too by going "look at what a violent nutbar this girl is, having a tsundere Magical Girlfriend would be terrible in the real world, but look how hot she is naked/in her undies/with her skirt up/boobs/panties/knockers/etc." Plus it does that annoying ecchi thing where all the female characters' bodies are super shiny, like they're made of plastic. Bleh.
the_sun_is_up: Panty from PSG wearing glasses. (Default)
Welcome back to Chez Magical Girl. Our special tonight is Jewel BEM Hunter Lime, an OVA from 1997.



Jewel BEM Hunter Lime is an oddity because a) it was based on a video game and b) it appears to be the first half of a longer series that was never completed. The first episode sets up the extremely generic plot: six magical MacGuffins have been accidentally scattered across the human world, so two citizens of the magical world are tasked with retrieving them before they absorb too much negative human energy and turn into rampaging monsters. However by the end of three episodes, only three of the six objects have been retrieved, and then the series just... stops. I guess this is what Yahtzee would call "a show that ran out of something."

However that might be for the best because Jewel BEM Hunter Lime is not very good. In fact, I'd almost call it bad. The writing certainly needs some major help, the plot is your standard Monster Of The Week + Gotta Catch Em All affair, and the characters are all obnoxious clichés: Bass is the dim-witted lech whose skirt-chasing boob-grabbing antics are supposed to be funny but just make him seem like a total creeper. Lime is the humorless straight woman whose physical abuse and nagging of her male sidekick are supposed to be funny but just make her seem like an intolerable tight-ass. And Mizuki is the squeaky-voiced muggle best friend whose entire personality can be summed up as "nice." There's also quite a lot of fanservice that fortunately isn't too tasteless or crass, but it's not terribly interesting either. The English dub is actually okay, but it still suffers due to the clunky script and cardboard characters. And with the basic Monster Of The Week setup, you'd think there'd be some action scenes to liven things up, but you'd be wrong — the monsters are mostly defeated by trickery, and Lime's transforming powers are only used to put her in fetish outfits and a schoolgirl uniform. So just fetish outfits. Zing!

The show's only saving grace is something the Japanese have been perfecting for many decades now: CUTENESS. Yes, cuteness is something that JBHL excels at, and I'd almost recommend it on that basis alone. The weekly monsters are absolutely adorable both in design and personality. The first is a chubby little candle who is angry because modern-day humans don't use candles anymore, and he's one of those characters who's endearing specifically because he takes himself completely seriously and has no idea what an adorable little snugglemuffin he is. The second is a chubby coin-purse who continually tries to live up to his identity as an "evil" monster by doing bad things but consistently fails and does good things by mistake, to the point where Lime and Mizuki's classmates adopt him as a sort of class pet when he attempts to steal their underwear by politely asking for it. And the third is similar to the first except he's a chubby medical syringe who says hilarious shit like "YOU CAN'T ESCAPE THE WRATH OF MY NEEDLE!" and "EXPERIENCE THE ANGER OF MY SYRINGE!" I should also mention the requisite cutesy sidekick, Poogie: a yellow blob with huge eyes who can morph into any object and who provides most of the few genuinely funny gags in the show.

Anyway, I'm glad I watched JBHM if only for the insanely huggable monsters and mascot, but in all other respects, this show is just mediocre. While Wedding Peach suffered from blandness and CosPrayers suffered from incompetence, JBHM seems to suffer from laziness. It really comes across as something made solely to cash in on the video game, like no one working on the show cared enough to at least try and make it a little less derivative.
the_sun_is_up: Twilight Sparkle reading a book. (mlp - happiness is a good book)


On today’s menu, we have another Magical Girl show that deservedly takes itself seriously: Genmu Senki Leda, aka Leda: The Fantastic Adventures of Yohko. This one’s a 75-minute OVA from 1985, and its story is your standard “girl falls into another world, transforms into a prophecied warrior, and is tasked with bringing down a local villain” plot à la Magic Knight Rayearth, but it’s the execution that makes this one really stand out.

Genmu Senki Leda is a regal feast for the eyes and ears, so much so that I’m tempted to call it “arty.” The show opens with a nearly 4-minute long sequence that’s devoid of dialogue and has only minimal narration, in which the heroine, Yohko, is composing and playing a wistful piano piece inspired by her secret love for some unnamed guy, and then it cuts to her walking down the street at dusk, meeting the guy on the road, trying to work up the nerve to confess her feelings, and ultimately failing. Due to the lack of dialogue, the whole sequence instead focuses on making the visuals, editing, cinematography, and timing with the piano music as beautiful and affecting as possible. And then this is followed by another dialogue-less sequence where Yohko falls into the other world and spends several minutes wandering around looking at all the very weird flora and fauna. Speaking of which, the design work in this show got a lot of love from somebody: the plants, the animals, the landscapes, the buildings, the enemy soldiers, their robotic steeds, their weapons and gadgets — everything in this alternate world is designed to look truly alien and bizarre. In short, this is not your standard fantasy setting. Also the color palette used in the alternate world is vibrant and beautiful, and while I’m no great judge of animation, it looks like the production staff made good use of their fatter OVA budget. On the aural side, the soundtrack consists of sweeping schmaltzy orchestral music that makes me feel like I’m going to swoon every time it comes on, intermixed with Yohko’s bittersweet piano solo and some hints of synth when the score gets more energetic during action scenes.

Some other recommendable aspects of GSL:

-It passes the Bechdel Test, since Yohko’s main ally is Yoni, the shrine maiden of Leda (the local goddess), and they spend some time discussing Leda and the dilapidated state of Ashanti.

-There are several cool action scenes such as: a) the hand-to-hand fight directly after Yohko’s first transformation, where she opens a can of whoopass on the enemy troops and robots, b) the chase scene on flying-motorcycle-things when she’s trying to retrieve her walkman, c) the battle where Yohko and Yoni both hop into giant robots (the similarities to Rayearth keep piling up!) and fight off the TIE-fighter-esque enemy spaceships, and d) the sequence at the end where the villain traps Yohko in a Lotus Eater Machine, but she awesomely busts out of it and causes a bunch of stuff to blow up in spectacular fashion.

-While the characters aren’t terribly interesting or memorable, they also manage to avoid obnoxious clichés and are likeable enough, which at this point is good enough for me. I also have to commend Ringhum, Yohko’s talking dog companion, for being one of the least annoying Magical Girl animal sidekicks ever.

-And for her transformation sequence, the heroine gets eaten by a giant flower. I don’t think anything more needs to be said.

Before watching GSL, I was unsure of whether to include in my project because a) it’s an OVA film, and I’m limiting the project to episodic serieses, and b) I wasn’t sure if it even fit the genre. After watching, I’m inclined to let the former slide because 1985 was still pretty early in the genre when not much was coming out, and as for the latter, GSL’s many similarities to Rayearth have convinced me that it does indeed qualify for the genre.

A good quality version of Genmu Senki Leda is available on Youtube with English subtitles so go watch it!
the_sun_is_up: Giorno in a cloud of flower petals, making a sexyface at the camera. (giogio - faaaaabulous)


In my quest to research Dark Magical Girls, I discovered that somebody uploaded all of Pretear to Youtube, so I'm steamrolling through it before the copyright police zap it.

So Pretear is a reverse harem anime and—

Wait, come back, I haven't finished yet! Sheesh. What I was going to say before I psychically sensed all of you spontaneously losing interest was that Pretear is also written by the same guy who directed Princess Tutu. And like Princess Tutu, Pretear is a show I'd rank amongst the best of the Magical Girl genre.

The basic plot is a mashup of Snow White and Cinderella except with the damsel in distress protagonist replaced with a plucky badass magical girl, and instead of seven dwarves, our heroine is accompanied by seven magical bishonen who act as her transformation trinkets, merging with her in order to grant her powers. Otherwise, the plot is your standard Magical Girl Warrior affair with naked henshins, elemental magic, monsters of the week, destiny, and a purple-wearing Dark Magical Girl who wants to destroy the world because she's angsty and wants everyone else to be too.

However there are a number of things that establish Pretear as a cut above its peers: Firstly, the heroine is refreshingly realistic. Maybe I've just grown demoralized by the endless parade of quivering moeblobs and shrill genki girls and airheaded failboats that clutter up the genre, but these days the surest way for a MG show to win me over is to have a protagonist who acts like an actual human being, and this is something that Himeno pulls off beautifully. She's actually rather hard to describe because she doesn't slot into any of the usual stereotypes; she's plucky and determined and energetic but also angsty and uncertain and self-critical, and my favorite part about her is how she reacts to situations in a way that feels natural and makes sense. For example, when the seven not-dwarfs first show up and try to get her to become the Pretear, she has mixed feelings about it and turns them down. But while running away, she mulls it over and changes her mind and runs back to the seven bishies, who are currently fighting a monster, and she runs up to her slap-slap-kiss love interest bishie and is like "Tell me what I need to do to become the Pretear!" Most magical girls are either all "Nooo I just want to be normal!" or all "Wheee diving headfirst into magical-girl-hood without thinking about the consequences first!" so it was nice to see a heroine whose reaction was more complex and who had the opportunity to give the proposal some thought before agreeing.

Also, in order to transform, Himeno has to merge with one of her bishies, and yes, it looks exactly as sexual as it sounds. And what I like is that Himeno immediately picks up on the innuendo, and when she first hears the merging process described by one of the (hilariously oblivious) bishies, her brain goes straight to the gutter and she has a minor freakout of "You're 'inside me?' We're 'becoming one?' BRB BRAIN MELTING ASDJKDSLFJDJFK" and it is just comedy gold. I also really loved her "STOP ANGSTING AND GET AHOLD OF YOURSELVES" speech to the boys in episode 7 — that was big "UGH I OFFICIALLY LOVE THIS CHARACTER" moment for me.

Another difference is that the show is significantly less cutesy and sugary than most MG fare. The plot is quite serious and heavy on angst, the Monsters of the Week are genuinely scary and disturbing-looking instead of being wacky golems made of mundane objects, and the show spends a minimal amount of time on filler, delving quite quickly into the dark secrets about the villainess's origins and how she's connected to the seven bishies. Himeno doesn't even have a cutesy animal sidekick/mentor; there's a cute bird-thing that serves as Team Pet, but it hardly ever has screentime. Himeno lacks the usual chunky plastic bling since her harem already serves that purpose, her weapons are pretty straightforward and hardcore — a sword, an axe, a whip, a chakram, etc — and her seven outfits deserve special mention for being really beautifully designed. Basically, this is a Magical Girl show that takes itself seriously instead of being self-admitted foof, and deserves to take itself seriously, harem of wearable bishies notwithstanding.

Another aspect of note is the relationship between Himeno and Hayate (the wind-themed bishie) which gets a lot of development and screentime during the series. Their romance reminds me a lot of Kyoko and Ren from Skip Beat: plucky heroine with secret angst meets cranky, abrasive, but secretly kind-hearted dark-haired guy by crashing into him headlong, they get off to a spectacularly bad start and hate each other, but gradually they get to know each other and realize that their bad first impressions were incorrect, and eventually they've got it bad for each other and only their mutual tsundere-ness is preventing them from sucking face. So with those similarities, I guess it's no surprise that I find the Himeno/Hayate romance to be quite adorable, and I'm pleased to report that so far their gradual transition from "I hate you" to "I like you" is well written and believable.

I also think the handling of the fairytale elements deserves special mention. The show gets major kudos for being able to breathe new life into the tired and not-very-good-to-begin-with Cinderella story by making the stepmother an overall nice person who is genuinely in love with the father, making one stepsister a lulzy sitcom-esque rival who is too ineffectual to be hate-worthy, and making the other stepsister have lots of sympathy-inducing angst behind her ice queen façade, so Himeno's dislike for her new family is less about them being puppy-stomping cartoon villains and more about feeling like a fish out of water, a poor girl suddenly thrust into a rich lifestyle and clueless about how to act or how to make her snobby stepsisters like her.

However, that's not to say that Pretear is perfect. The fight scenes are pretty short and lackluster, so if that's what you watch MG shows for then this one is going to disappoint. The focus is more on the people and their relationships and emotional drama, so the action gets short shrift. Also, I'm no expert on animation quality, but the budget for Pretear looks like it was on the modest side, so the visual quality is really inconsistent, although the art style is quite nice. And the soundtrack is... honestly dreadful. It sounds like easy listening or elevator music, with the exception of the memorable J-Pop opener.

And I have one big complaint regarding the requisite "boyfriend turns evil" plotline...spoilers )

But overall, Pretear is a very strong Magical Girl show and I recommend it.

As a final comment: I think it's hilarious that when Himeno first uses the Wind Sword, the glowy magic power comes out of her crotch. Just, unmistakably starts blossoming out of her pelvic region. Given those O-faces she makes during her transformation sequences, I shouldn't be surprised!
the_sun_is_up: Yahtzee's speech bubble has been censored by a black bar that has the text "horrible things" written on it. (zero p - horrible things)
This week on the Magical Girl Project, I take on that other unholy abomination known as CosPrayers.

Most of you have probably never heard of this series. Those of you who have might have also heard of the minor meme it spawned: "worse than CosPrayers." This meme uses the show as a litmus test by which to judge other shows, in order to separate the truly wretched from the merely crappy. Saying a show is "worse than CosPrayers" indicates that it's the very suckiest of suck.

Even the production company seems to have become aware at some point that the show sucked because right after it came out, they made another show called "Smash Hit" in which CosPrayers is a show-within-a-show that is acknowledged in-universe to be really terrible. This is what we in the biz refer to as a "parody retcon," in which the creators of a really shitty work turn around and go "Oh, no no, we made it shitty on purpose! As a satire of, um, stuff! Please believe us!"

Hell, even the name of the thing is sucky. Its full title is "The Cosmopolitan Prayers," and the shortened title intentionally resembles the word "cosplayer." Yes, it's a groan-worthy pun based around the Japanese tendency to pronounce "L" and "R" the same. KILL IT.

So since I'm the type of person who always gets morbidly curious whenever fans declare something to be the WORST EVAR, I decided to give CosPrayers a try and see for myself just how bad it is. Honestly, I came away feeling kind of disappointed.

CosPrayers is not the fun kind of bad. It's not the hilarious, campy, hubcaps-on-strings kind of bad that makes the work of Ed Wood and Coleman Francis so unintentionally entertaining. CosPrayers is just dull. And I know I panned Wedding Peach for being dull, but at least Wedding Peach had a clear idea of what it was doing and how to do it. CosPrayers, on the other hand, is incompetent and incoherent, with the storytelling and the editing being its biggest problems. It's like the creators had a bunch of story elements and bits of plot, but instead of arranging them in a way that flowed and made sense, they just kind of dumped them all out on a card table and let chance decide. The characters are shallow and bland and never get a chance to talk or develop relationships with each other, and the plot is so poorly executed that it invites plentiful fridge logic.

That 52-card-pickup method of storytelling gets even worst in the latter half of the series which offers up several plot twists that make no sense whatsoever, only serving to confuse the audience further. Again, it's like the creators wanted to have some plot twists in their anime, but had no clue of how to go about constructing such things. Alternatively, it's like they wanted to make a show about some cute girls fighting monsters, but they didn't realize that a functional anime series needs more than literally just "some cute girls fighting monsters."

I guess I should also mention that the show is full of gross, in-your-face fanservice that completely shatters the dramatic tension whenever it shows up, and the art style is typical of moe-esque fanservice shows in that it makes all the girls look like they're made of plastic, but none of this is unique to CosPrayers.

But back to that question of the parody retcon: According to Wikipedia, Smash Hit premiered only a week after CosPrayers ended, so it does seem possible that the producers had planned all along for CosPrayers to be crappy. But if that's the case, they're still complete blockheads. First of all, where's the sense in airing the intentionally sucky show-within-a-show before airing the making-of show that gives it context? Your audience will get bored and/or annoyed and go off to watch something else long before you have a chance to reveal the whole "it was supposed to be crap all along!" twist. And secondly, a crappy work does not automatically get any less crappy just because you made it crappy on purpose. If you sing a song horrendously off-key, it doesn't matter whether you did it because you're tone-deaf or because you're doing it intentionally to make some point — either way, it's still going to make my ears bleed. Being sucky on purpose isn't enough by itself — you have be entertainingly sucky, and preferably also include some satire on the sucky thing that you're imitating. Plus, I don't think CosPrayers is outlandish enough in its suckiness to qualify for the "haha sucky on purpose" crowd. Simply put, it's not bad enough. Despite that "worse than CosPrayers" meme, it's not the worst anime out there, nor is it even the worst I've seen. It's just kind of mediocre and incoherent. It fails even at being legendarily awful.
the_sun_is_up: Twilight Sparkle reading a book. (mlp - happiness is a good book)
Bad news: The federal government shuts down Megaupload. My opinion on this is mixed. On the one hand, I understand why they did it — MU enabled people to pirate anything and everything. On the other hand, I'm pissed because like a lot of people, I used MU to access things that I can't legally access, like out-of-print unlicensed anime. On the other other hand, I'm amused at the futility of the action because MU is only one of many many sites like it. This is like when the Japanese publishers nuked OneManga and MangaHelpers — a dozen new scanlation-sharing websites immediately popped up to replace them. Something like this is not going to stop people from pirating.

Good news: I found out that not only is the Sailor Moon manga getting rereleased in English with a better translation, but the Princess Knight manga, the grandmama of shojo manga written by Osamu Tezuka himself, is getting released for the first time in English! And both volumes are, as we speak, wending their way towards my mailbox. Yaaaay!
the_sun_is_up: Panty looking excited, with her hand on Stocking's abdomen. (psg - PEEKABOO PEEKABOO PEEKABOO)
Mooooooar.

Rinne No Lagrange: So this is basically just Neon Genesis Evangelion without all the grimdark angst and with Shinji replaced by an energetic, athletic, outgoing girl wearing an orange tracksuit. The ANN folks have been ragging on it for its derivative "teenagers in giant robots fight alien invasion" schtick, but personally I think that "Eva minus angst plus ladies plus a likeable protagonist" sounds like a great idea.

Granted, the ANN reviewers have a point: Lagrange is not the most imaginative kid on the anime block. The beta protagonist, Lan, comes straight out of the Rei Ayanami school of Exotically Emotionless Pale-Blue-Haired Alien Chicks Who Lack Nudity Taboos, and the enemy robot in the first episode looks uncannily similar to the first Angel that Shinji fights in Eva. However the show makes up for its lack of new ideas with some pretty decent execution. The visuals are beautiful, with the animators getting plenty of mileage out of the seaside setting — lots of shots of the ocean, the vivid blue sky, seagulls, lush greenery, etc — and I'm loving the music so far. The OP is really neat-looking, making cool use of textured overlays, although some people will probably find it on the eye-bleedy side. The one big downside of the show I noted was the underage fanservice. There's not a lot of it, but it's really awkwardly placed in the narrative and just pops up out of nowhere and slaps you in the face with its crassness. The one exception would be the bit where Lan strips, which was very pretty and fairly tasteful, although it still suffered from the awkward timing.

But most of all I like the protagonist. Madoka is energetic without being grating, she's not a clichéd moeblob, she has moments of being genuinely funny, she's really into sports without being a stereotypical tomboy, and she responds to the whole "OH HEY COME PILOT THIS GIANT ROBOT FOR US" business with a fair amount of poise and minimal angst.

You can watch it at Viz's website here. Just turn on close-captioning to get subtitles.
the_sun_is_up: Yahtzee's speech bubble has been censored by a black bar that has the text "horrible things" written on it. (zero p - horrible things)
More from winter anime season 2012:

Highschool DxD: Since I'm doing the whole new season sampling thing, I figured I may as well sample something that's guaranteed to be completely awful, just for shits and giggles. Zac on ANN gave this show a rating of "boobs," but I think I can do an even better job of summing up the show simply by linking to a single NSFW screencap. Yep, that's all you need to know about Highschool DxD: uncensored nipples, copious female nudity, and shameless harem crap lightly flavored with femdom.

The weird thing about this one is that I actually liked some aspects of it. I liked the music, I liked the use of color, particularly the vivid luscious red used for the blood and the female lead's hair, and I liked some of the camera angles and cinematography stuff. I appreciate the fact that the male lead is at least upfront and honest about his desire to be in a harem show, as opposed to the tired old "Oh noes, I have no idea why all these women are flocking to me and how did my hand end up on this boob?!" And the central conceit of the plot isn't inherently terrible — I think it could potentially be done well. But every time I started enjoying myself a bit, then suddenly a female character's boobs would start moving like they had minds of their own or the camera would randomly cut to a shot of a gynecologically detailed vulva clad in the thinnest clingiest underwear ever created, and oops all potential enjoyment just went down the toilet, along with my lunch. That's the weird thing about the gross fanservice in this show: it's not in a constant stream; instead it kind of jumps out and tackles you at random moments.

But anyway, yes, obviously this show is utter garbage and should only be watched if a) you've just eaten something poisonous or b) you have a friend who's convinced that all anime is brilliant and you need to disabuse them of this notion.

Also I noticed something peculiar about another show this season: So there's this show in which two of the female leads are named Hibiki and Kanade, the main villainous force is called Noise, and another villainous force called Mephisto.

Am I describing Senhime Zesshou Symphogear or last year's Suite Precure?

I can't tell if this is a really weird coincidence or a really weird ripoff.
the_sun_is_up: A lovestruck Tamamin from Girl Friends making a boob-grabbing gesture. (gf - grabby hands)
More new anime sampling!

Bodacious Space Pirates: Judging by the title, I strongly suspected this was going to be a revolting pantyriffic jigglefest fanservice show, sort of like Ikki Tousen IN SPACE. To my utter delight, I turned out to be wrong.

This show has a minimal amount of fanservice. And it's about FEMALE SPACE PIRATES.

FEMALE
SPACE
PIRATES

In the first episode, we're introduced to a likeable teenage female lead who has thus far avoided falling into any annoying anime stereotypes. She's a talented spaceship pilot who discovers to her shock that both her parents were space pirates and she's eligible to inherit her long-lost dad's ship now that he's died. This episode also gives us a) a pair of pirates who are a cool chick with interestingly-colored hair and lipstick and a hot bishie dude whose personality is refreshingly down-to-earth so far, b) an ice-queen transfer student who whips out a gun in the final moments of the episode and who, when she's first introduced, prompts the heroine to blush slightly and think "She's cute!" and my LesYay sensors are going off like WEE-OO-WEE-OO-WEE-OO, c) a very detailed futuristic world with tons of cool technology and shit, d) a scene in which the heroine, feeling skeptical after finding out about the whole "parents = pirates" thing, looks her dad up on the future-internet like a sensible person would and idk I just love it when fictional characters do amusingly realistic shit like that, and e) DID I MENTION THAT IT IS ABOUT FEMALE SPACE PIRATES BUT NOT IN A GROSS FANSERVICEY WAY AND THERE'S SPACESHIPS AND CHICKS WITH GUNS AND LESYAY AND SCIFI AND CAN YOU TELL THAT I AM REALLY EXCITED ABOUT THIS YOU GUYS!?!?

I also have to give the episode props for using about 10 different anime clichés (maid café, stoic chick with glasses, new transfer student, new teacher turns out to be hot guy, new teacher turns out to be someone you know already, kid finds out parents had glamorous exciting life, and probs some other ones I'm forgetting) in such a way that it didn't annoy me. Like, I felt like I should be rolling my eyes, but I wasn't.

Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki: This is a 3-minute Slice of Life show about a spherical cat.



I repeat, IT'S ABOUT A SPHERICAL CAT.



I AM GOING TO WATCH THE SHIT OUT OF THIS SHOW.
the_sun_is_up: Panty from PSG wearing glasses. (Default)
This winter, I'm actually trying to stay up-to-date with current anime for once! I'm reading the ANN Preview Guide, and I'm sampling any new shows that look remotely relevant to my interests. So to that end:

Senhime Zesshou Symphogear: Now here's a show that could have been good in a stupidly fun way, but is let down by poor execution.

So there's this duo of idol singers who also happen to be badasses who use a combination of powered armor and magical singing to fight an alien menace called Noise. When Noise attacks one of their concerts, one of the singers sacrifices her life to save a young girl called Hibiki. Two years later, Hibiki is an avid fan of the surviving idol singer, and both girls happens to be attending the same music school. One day, Hibiki is walking home when she gets attacked by Noise again, and just when she thinks she's toast, she starts singing and her latent superpowers awaken by having a bunch of powered armor stuff burst out of her body in a rather grotesque fashion.

This kind of absurd plot really needs style and flair to be pulled off right, and this show doesn't have either. The art style is ugly even by moe standards, giving the characters these weird oval-shaped eyes and blobby hair, and the color choice is garish to the point of radioactive, particularly on the Noise aliens, who just hurt to look at. The design choices range from "pretty" to "BARF," with the latter end being dominated by the attack names, which get splashed across the screen comic-book-style, and the transformation sequence. As for content, the plot of the episode is kind of all-over-the-place, and it seems to be taking cues from Madoka Magica and leaning heavily on the ANGST button. I'll probably watch the second episode just to find out where the heck they're going with this, but I wouldn't recommend this one, not even as campy actiony fun.
the_sun_is_up: Panty from PSG wearing glasses. (Default)
This week on the Magical Girl Project, I'm skimming my way through the English dub of Cyberteam in Akihabara, which is conveniently on Youtube for the moment. At first I was just skimming for research purposes, but my genuine interest was piqued by Episode 8, which provides us with something that every Magical Girl show must have at least one of:

The Lesbian Episode!

This one was so delightfully gay that I felt compelled to make a picspam of it. But first I should introduce the characters:

Hibari: Red-headed heroine and ordinary junior-high student. (Luci Christian)
Suzume: Blue-haired best friend and gadgeteer genius. (Tiffany Grant)
Tsugumi: Black-haired martial artist with orange headband. (Kira Vincent-Davies)

(I point out the voice actors because in spite of a frequently awkward script, the English dub has some good actors working on it.)

Anyway in this episode, Hibari finds a love letter in her locker which she thinks is from this "Prince" guy she has a crush on, but it turns out to be from a girl named Uzura (Cynthia Martinez). Uzura turns out to be your typical obsessively lovestruck schoolgirl lesbian and Hibari isn't sure how to turn her down. Hibari's friends suggest that she pretend to have a boyfriend, but since they don't know any boys, that means one of them will have to dress up in drag as Hibari's fake boyfriend.

Let the homoerotic crossdressing hijinks begin! )

Fun fact: This is not the only time that Cynthia Martinez and Luci Christian have been partners in LesYay — in Puni Puni Poemi, they played Poemi and Futaba, although their roles were reversed, with Christian playing the obsessed lesbian and Martinez playing her object of affection.

(crossposted to LJ)

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the_sun_is_up: Panty from PSG wearing glasses. (Default)
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