Since Kiki’s Delivery Service was already taken, I decided to review something that appeared to be similar in concept. Back in 2013, Studio Trigger—who you may know from their work on series like Kill La Kill, Kiznaiver, or the Steven Universe episode “Mindful Education”—released a short film that bloomed across Tumblr in gif form. This film was Little Witch Academia. I honestly wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the film itself; sure, I could glean some things from the images I saw floating around, but that says nothing for plot and given the twenty-six minute length I was a little dubious on if Academia would be more than just fluff and cool animation. To my surprise, while a lot of it was really cool animation, Academia also managed to have a pretty cool plot and created a universe where no girl is punished for pursuing magic, no matter what she believes in.
It’s been about six months since the last time we reviewed a Rogue One trailer. Since then the hype has only grown, and December 16th can’t come fast enough. What we have in the meantime is this second full-length trailer.
This one reveals a bit more, but what it reveals has left me with mixed feelings.
I am an eternal optimist when it comes to reboots, mostly because it’s exhausting to be constantly whining about a ruined childhood. All I hope for is that the reboot captures the spirit of the original.
Unfortunately for the laboriously titled The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do The Time Warp Again, that wasn’t easy. To belabor my metaphor, they probably shoulda called the reboot Ghostbusters to help them with capturing that spirit, because the movie struggled and grasped and ultimately failed to do so.
Recently I was bored and decided to try something new on Netflix. Since Netflix is awesome, it suggested several things I might like, and to my delight, I soon found a fairytale with a female protagonist and Tim Curry as a supporting male character. That alone was enough to get me to watch, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much the movie subverted some typical sexist fairytale storytelling.
It looks like a Chronicles of Narnia ripoff, but it’s not.
The Secret of Moonacre is the story of Maria Merryweather, a young girl whose mother died when she was young and whose father recently passed away. She discovers that her father lost all of his assets to gambling and she is being sent to live with her uncle in Moonacre Valley. The only thing her father was able to leave her was a book called The Ancient Chronicles of Moonacre Valley. Maria begins to read a story about a woman so pure and good that nature loved her and the moon blessed her with magical moon pearls, which is why people began to call her the moon princess. But when she reveals their powers to her father and fiance, they become greedy and each attempt to steal the pearls for themselves. The princess then places a curse on the valley using the power the moon gave her, declaring that the pearls must be returned to the sea or the valley would be cursed forever. When Maria goes to live with her uncle, she discovers that not only is this story true, but that she is the new moon princess and must break the curse on the valley.
This was a surprisingly feminist story featuring a young girl entering a dangerous and magical world who is able to take control of her own life and help others. Her magic comes from being good and pure, like the first moon princess, but this does not translate into the same sexist storytelling that many fairytales do when a woman’s strength is said to come from her goodness and purity. Nor is Maria a boring character with no faults: she is never put up on a pedestal, but rather her strength comes from the fact that she is able to use her virtues to overcome her faults.
My spoils from New York Comic Con didn’t stop at Welcome to Showside. I continued to purchase from the vendors and picked up Natalie Reiss’s Space Battle Lunchtime Volume One: Lights, Camera, Snacktion!, which can be quickly described as Iron Chef in space with shonen/shoujo elements, from the Oni Press booth. With this premise and adorable artwork, I knew I had to give it a shot, and I was not disappointed.
A while back, I wrote a post on Shiva as presented in the Final Fantasy series. To make a long story short, Final Fantasy isn’t very accurate. Nevertheless, its use of Shiva still got me interested in the original mythology. The same is true for a lot of the other summons, and so I thought it would be fun to look into their source material as well. Shiva has appeared in just about every game I’ve played, but another commonly recurring summon is Ifrit, a demon-like entity with awesome fire powers. Based on Middle Eastern stories, Ifrit’s use is nowhere near as culturally appropriative as Shiva’s, if only because Ifrit is not a deity at the center of a particular faith. Its presentation is still not quite accurate, so let’s delve into the differences between its use in Final Fantasy and Middle Eastern lore.
That’s kind of terrifying. It’s pretty horrible that adults just don’t get simple concepts like “no means no”, “inability to consent means no”, “the absence of a yes means no”, or “coerced consent is not consent”. And what’s worse is that, when this way of thinking lodges itself in our cultural headspace, it isn’t just adults who are on the receiving end of it. Rather, this mentality creeps its way into children’s media as well, and too often goes entirely unchallenged within that media. Kids aren’t going to go read a blog post about Snow White or Sleeping Beauty’s inability to consent while asleep after watching those movies – there needs to be some kind of message within the film (or book, or show) that shows them why it isn’t kosher. And while there’s a lot of onus on kids’ media to be didactic in some way, a lot of it still falls flat.