Magical Mondays: The Inner Magic of Princesses

Imagine it. You’re sitting down to one of your favorite Disney movies, watching the well-loved story unfold before your eyes when suddenly the heroine of choice, in a stunning scene of sparkles and tailored finesse, gains her traditional princess garb. From as far back as Cinderella to Disney’s most recent flick, Frozen, a wide majority of the heroines have a scene dedicated to “transforming” into a princess—or maybe a “more marketable princess” in the case of characters like Elsa. By this point in our media culture, we’re so used to scenes like this that the possible underlying meanings don’t even cross our minds. Sure, they’re turning into a princess, but why? Are these transformations really all about the typical fairytale ending? I argue that no, they’re not. They’re more than a neat bow to tie a romantic subplot with and so much more than a tool for companies to sell princess garb (although that’s certainly part of it). Princess transformations are all about tapping into a positivity that’s accessible to both children and older audiences alike.

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Theatre Thursdays: Sailor Moon Musical 2014

Sera Myu Petite Etrangere CastFollowing the success of last summer’s La Reconquista, Sailor Moon will once again take to the stage in an all new musical production. This summer’s presentation is titled Petite Étrangere (“Little Stranger”) and will focus on the Black Moon arc of the manga, which makes up the latter portion of the anime’s second season. The majority of the La Reconquista cast has been confirmed to return. So far the only replacement is Koyama Momoyo, who’s stepping into the role of Sailor Mercury in place of Matsuura Miyabi.

Personally, this news makes me very excited. For starters, the fact that Yamato Yuuga is returning as Tuxedo Mask implies that this will be another all-female cast, which is great. Additionally, I am anxious to see how the cast has improved now that they’ve had so much experience working together and being on stage.

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Moonies Rejoice! Sailor Moon Re-release Coming to a Computer Screen Near You

Looking back, I find it humorously convenient that our own BrothaDom wrote a post about nostalgia only last week, and now here I am, standing in the aftermath of one of the hugest nostalgia bombs to go off in my fandoms in a while. As with many kids of my generation, we grew up watching DBZ and Sailor Moon in the wee hours of the morning before school, during that wonderful block of programming called Toonami. Today, I’m more than happy to announce that we Moonies will be able to re-live our childhood with an entirely new dubbing of the original series!

TFW all your dreams come true

TFW all your dreams come true.

If you’ve been keeping up with the Sailor Moon buzz, you’ll know that Sailor Moon Crystal is coming out soon as well. To distinguish, Crystal is an entirely new series which takes the original Sailor Moon formula and brings it up to date with a new cast of girls that bear a striking resemblance to their predecessors. While I’m excited for that as well, I’m much more excited for this revamp of the original four seasons.

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Web Crush Wednesdays: Evan MacIsaac

jr9fangirls1111Happy Wednesday! Today’s Web Crush is on a Sailor Moon fan who has carved out possibly the most unique niche for himself in the fandom. If you follow Sailor Moon blogs on Tumblr, chances are you’ve seen gifs of this fan—he’s the guy who makes music videos in construction paper cosplay:

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Art Appreciation: Khallion

I love me some good fan art. It is, in fact, the bomb-diggity. I have recently started using my Tumblr (post on that forthcoming) and the art below popped up on my news feed (Is it a news feed? My home page? Or is that the one that’s a dashboard?) Anyway, pretty things popped up and I thought that I would share.

Karen Hallion, or Khallion, is a professional artist/illustrator from Massachusetts. I personally love her art. The style is very Disney inspired with some clear influences from classical storybook art and tarot cards. And some steampunk things; you should all know I like steampunk things. Oh, and she draws nerdy and geeky things, which is why I’m featuring it at all.

What drew me in the most was her series of Disney princesses encountering the TARDIS. It was such a clever idea and I couldn’t help but like it. I like the idea of the Doctor replacing your typical prince charming (or actual as the case may be). Some of them just had the Disney princess staring at the TARDIS, but my favorite (the Sleeping Beauty one below) cleverly incorporated the TARDIS into the actual story, which is why it’s my favorite.

A lot of her art is crossovers of various kinds. The ones with clear Tarot-card inspirations weren’t my favorite, probably because I’m not a Tarot-card person. However, there seems to be two sides to her work, almost like two separate artists: the one who draws Tarot-card, steampunk-ish things and the one who does Disney crossovers of various kinds. If you didn’t guess, I prefer the Disney ones. And as much as I like steampunk in general, I think that if used in excess or used it on top of five other elements (I’ve seen this plenty of times in cosplay), it tends to overwhelm.

Even looking below, you can see a stark difference in style between the Sailor Moon picture and the Red Riding Hood picture. In many ways I suppose it’s commendable that Khallion can change her style that dramatically, but in other respects it’s rather jarring when looking at her entire body of work. I guess it’s a toss-up: either you like that she can work in two completely different veins or you don’t. And because I’m not very attracted to the work in her second, Tarot-card-steam-punk vein, I guess I fall in the latter category.

Anywho, here are my three fave pieces below!

khillion1khallion2

khalion3

Khallion has had some of her designs featured on TeeFury, and she has her own Etsy and deviantArt pages. So you have no excuse not to check her out!

DiC vs. Toei: Wicked or Black?

Black Lady and ChibiusaIn the second season of the Sailor Moon anime there is a plot in which the character Chibiusa is turned evil by the villain Wiseman, who plays on her insecurities and infuses her with powers that cause her to develop into a full-grown woman. In the original anime produced by Toei Animation this evil incarnation is known as Black Lady, while in DiC’s English dub of the series she is instead called Wicked Lady. Like almost every change DiC made to the series in their dub, this has been a point of contention among fans, many of whom believe the show should have been dubbed with as few changes as possible. I don’t personally support this view and while I don’t think all of the English dub’s changes were good, I will use this article to explain why I support DiC in this particular instance.

Black Moon Clan- Rubeus the Red, Demand the White, Esmeraude the Green, and Saphir the Blue

Black Moon Clan- Crimson Rubeus, Prince Demand, Esmeraude the Green, and Saphir the Blue

When Takeuchi Naoko wrote the second arc of her Sailor Moon manga, she created a group of villains known as the Black Moon Clan. The group was identified by the downward-pointing, black crescent moon marking on their forehead, in opposition to the White Moon Clan with their upright, golden crescent moon insignia. As you can see from the above picture, color was a large portion of these villains’ identities and the color black was the most predominant and unified feature of their group: Black Moon Clan, black insignia, their power came from the Black Crystal, etc. and this remained the case when Toei adapted this arc into the second season of the anime.

When it came time for DiC to dub this section of the anime, however, most of these color identities were modified or ignored. The villains were simply Rubeus, Diamond, Emerald, and Sapphire without their “the Red”, “the White”, etc. subtitles and the word “Black” was eliminated entirely from their group. They were instead called the Negamoon Family and used the power of the Dark Crystal. Since the word “Black” no longer appeared in these villains’ name, when Rini (Chibiusa) was turned evil, she was not called Black Lady but instead Wicked Lady.

Why was this change made? It’s probably pretty obvious: the title “Black Lady” sounds extremely racist and when the name is used to imply that she is evil it becomes even more problematic. The main reason I’m writing this article today is because I saw someone make the comment “If Black Lady is racist then so is black coffee” and I just felt the need to fully express how much I support DiC’s change in this case.

First off, in case anyone thinks the coffee example is an acceptable argument; it’s not. Coffee is not a person and therefore cannot experience racism. Are we all on the same page there? Good, I’m glad.

More importantly, the real problem here is using “Black” as shorthand for “bad”. It’s not that this is inherently racist (when referring to things other than people), after all, darkness has long been seen as threatening and frightening and I’m sure that’s the connotation Naoko was going for when she created these villains: the distinction between light and dark. The thing is, when this comes over to the English-speaking world (and in particular the United States) where historically black people have been mistreated and dehumanized at the hands of white people, using “White” to mean good and “Black” to mean evil becomes a problem.

It’s been a part of our culture to hear “Black person” and instantly think negatively about them and while there has arguably been improvement since the days of legal segregation, modern children still have negative attitudes towards Blacks and there is absolutely no need to keep reinforcing those attitudes with children’s entertainment. DiC may have been more concerned with being politically correct than with actually fighting a culture of racism, but either way they still made the right decision in using the word “Wicked” to identify evil rather than “Black”.

Black Lady

Sailor Moon 2013 Anime News Roundup

*crickets*

*tumbleweed*

*crickets on a tumbleweed*

…yeah, we’ve really gotten nothing. What I said last summer when the news broke is about all we have still, though initial thoughts that Momoiro Clover Z’s song “Otome Senso” would be the new theme have been pretty much refuted, and, though they are set to sing the new anime’s opening theme, we do not know what that song will be. We have gotten a video of the group doing a live-action parody of the original opening for the third season of the anime, which is fun:

I don’t know if this means that “Moonlight Densetsu” will once again be the theme or not, but at least they’re keeping Sailor Moon (and their connection to it) fresh in the public’s mind.

A good place for information on the new anime (and any and all Sailor Moon media) is moonkitty.net which has this page set up to gather news and make reasonable guesses as to possibilities for the series. Anything that is a supposition is labeled as such, so don’t worry about rumors being started on the site and passed off as news. The webmaster (Brad, a really nice guy, judging by his YouTube videos) is a big moonie and he has never seemed interested in deceiving or tricking the fandom. The latest tidbit he’s offered via twitter is that the anime seems to have been delayed from its projected summer premiere:

Twitter Sailor Moon 2013 NewsNothing really confirmed though.

Well that’s about it, unfortunately. The main reason I’m posting a news roundup with no news available is to remind everyone that I haven’t forgotten about this, it should still be happening, and to be careful with what you see online. Many people have posted supposed art from the new series and I want to remind everyone to be very skeptical of anything like that. As of right now, nothing that concrete has been released so anything you see claiming to be a new character design or a screencap from the series is most likely not what it claims to be.

For the time being we’re all just going to have to sit tight and make sure we check the sources on anything claiming to be news. It could turn out to be a Negaverse plot trying to steal your energy!

Zoisite vs. Zoycite

zoisiteWhen DiC created the English dub of Toei’s anime Sailor Moon, many things were changed. Some of the changes were done to make the show more appealing to English-speaking audiences, but many were made to censor out elements which were deemed inappropriate for the show. One of the more glaring examples of censorship in the English dub of Sailor Moon is the handling of the character Zoisite (spelled “Zoycite” in DiC’s version). Zoisite was one of the Shitennou, or “Four Heavenly Kings”, and, in the anime, was romantically linked with the Shitennou’s leader, Kunzite. Zoisite and Kunzite were also both men, and therein lay the problem for DiC when they were creating the English dub of the series.

Since there was virtually no mainstream market for anime in the English-speaking world at the time Sailor Moon was being produced, DiC needed to make the show fit in with standard programming at the time. One of the standards of programming was that animation was for kids, so DiC marketed Sailor Moon to that young demographic. In doing so, there were many things that had to be changed about the show to make it more acceptable to parents, councils, and the like, so anything bloody was removed, words like “death” or “kill” were never used, and most examples of non-Western spirituality were toned down or cut out. With this approach to adapting the series, it’s pretty easy to see that the homosexual romance was never going to make it into the English version, so how was it handled? By making the man Zoisite into the woman Zoycite.

Most fans will point this out as one of the most insulting acts on DiC’s part, whether they’re dub supporters or dub haters, but to be honest, I’m not too angry about this decision.

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Sexualized Saturdays: The Over-Sexualized Teenage Girl

So back during college, I found myself replaying Final Fantasy XIII while my roommate’s friends were over. And to my everlasting annoyance, these twenty-some-year-old men felt the need to fake orgasm and talk nonstop about all the nasty things they wanted to do to Vanille, whom everyone thought was fifteen, based solely on the fact that she has “perky boobs”. And according to them, her voice sounds as if she’s in the middle of an orgasm too, apparently. They treated Vanille as if she was no longer a character, but as a sex object whose sole purpose was to please them.

I didn’t have a lot of fun playing that day.

But this experience does bring to mind something that should be addressed. While Vanille is actually at least nineteen, I believe, and video games and plenty of other mediums tend to objectify grown women to titillate male audiences, many things in geekdom tend to do the same with underage girls as well. And even more surprisingly, not many people seem to have problems with this.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Don’t hate on pink!

How many times have you read a story or fanfic or watched a movie and you knew the lady was going to be badass because she ordered a beer/hard liquor and not a Cosmo and because she doesn’t give a shit about her hair or makeup or clothes? Introductions like this make for an easy shorthand that ‘this character is a hardass and worthy of your respect’ but they also reinforce the stereotype that for a woman to be respected, she has to perform stereotypically masculine gender roles. Continue reading