Tag Archives: magic

Anime Spotlight #21

Crazy to think I was around the same age as these protagonists when this Anime aired across the Pacific…:

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I recently re-watched Cardcaptor Sakura, the original Japanese (subbed) version, and holy crap were there a lot of changes made in the American dub I saw almost two decades ago now!

The original dub was titled Cardcaptors, and aside from Sakura and Shaoran nearly everyone else in the show had a name-change:  Toya became Tori, Tomoyo became Madison, Mizuki-sensei became Ms. Mackenzie, and Yukito became Julian — to name a few.  Even Sakura’s surname was changed from Kinomoto to Avalon; I’m sure what saved her first name is the fact that it appears in English all over the place, namely on her oddly-shaped pencil case and on all of Clow Reid’s Tarot-type cards she re-captures (the show’s namesake).  Shaoran’s name remains largely unchanged, I assume, because he’s a transfer student from Hong Kong, which wouldn’t affect the dub the way the other characters would.  Of course, Cardcaptors followed the same trend as Sailor Moon and Pokemon in cutting out anything that was deemed “controversial” when these Anime were released — things like homosexuality and under-aged love, both of which appear en-force in Cardcaptors.

While Japan has had a more open mindset on many things that were deemed controversial over in America for quite some time, I found that Cardcaptor Sakura made use of such things as same-sex and under-aged love affairs in a profound way:  They are explained as manifestations of interactions between people with strong innate magical power, and the strong feelings that do emerge ultimately foreshadow important elements that will appear in the future.  For example, both Sakura and Shaoran fall in love with Yukito, who just so happens to be a book-seal in disguise, named Yue (the other is Kerberos, the talking plush toy), who eventually passes judgement on them both to determine which of the two is fit to pick up where Clow Reid left off.  Toya becomes Mizuki’s boyfriend, back when he was not much older than Sakura currently is and Mizuki was his teacher, and as such Mizuki ends up meeting with Sakura herself many times while she’s re-capturing those cards she released by accident; Toya, on the other hand, has magical power of his own that allows him to see his mother’s ghost, to know Yukito’s true identity, and to know in advance where Sakura’s going to be any given day and take up a part-time job somewhere very near to that place she will be (in order to look out for her).

While this show is technically for kids, I’d say it’s still worth watching for anyone with an interest in magical girl-type Anime especially when there are some parts of the show that may go over a kid’s head.  As for those who watched the original dub, I suggest watching a subbed version so you can pick up the plot points that were cut out in the dub.  All-round, it’s a pretty neat show!

 

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Anime Spotlight #13

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Another Harem Anime….

Anime shows starring a boy with a harem of magical girls is definitely nothing new, and it sure is nice that “Trinity Seven” takes a unique spin on the magical girl and harem tropes in Anime.

Firstly, magic in “Trinity Seven” is portrayed as being the exact opposite of that which is “natural” and “logical.”  Those that can wield magic, the Mages, do so according to a specific discipline — kinda like Science; however, Mages study their discipline’s inversion — with Science, when one studies a discipline like Biology that is exactly what they study.  Magical disciplines are divided via the Seven Deadly Sins, so a Mage chooses a Sin that best suits them and then becomes everything that Sin isn’t.  For example, Lilith, the red-head, is a Mage of Lust yet she is the farthest thing from lustful in “Trinity Seven”; indeed, she is actually one of two tsunderes in Arata’s harem.

Speaking of tsunderes, Arata is actually fairly tsundere-proof.

Of course, some things never change, like the fact that every good Anime harem needs a loli or two:

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Appearances are deceiving in “Trinity Seven”; these three girls are in fact grimoires.

Unlike boys in other Harem Anime, Arata is well aware of the harem he’s acquiring as he keeps on his quest to get Hijiri back.  Meanwhile, he discovers he’s pretty-much Satan’s left-hand man and he’s actually meant to use the Trinity Seven to destroy the World and remake it anew again.  Thanks in part to Hijiri, though, all Arata wants to do is control all magic in the Universe so that he can return her to Earth and keep his new friends safe.

Because Mages gain the most of their magic when they’re irrational, it makes sense that “Trinity Seven’s” plot also be irrational.  Characters flip sides on a whim, and they sometimes do things that make absolutely zero logical sense in the scheme of things.

The rest is best left to watching the show itself.  The first season is also dubbed!

Anime Spotlight #9

Speaking of young girls wearing machine parts and fighting aliens…:

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Strike Witches!!

With two full seasons, an OVA, and three stand-alone episodes, one could say that Strike Witches did pretty well.  It also has a spin-off, the Brave Witches, which didn’t do nearly as well as Strike Witches did (with only one season completed).

In this parallel-reality Anime rendition of WWII where an alien AI race has invaded Earth, many of the most successful WWII flying aces from our reality have been incarnated in the form of magic-wielding teenaged girls called “Witches.”  Squadrons of these Witches ultimately take inspiration from the three Russian all-female airborne divisions that existed during WWII, the most well-known of them being the 588th division called the “Night Witches.”

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The “Strike Witches” and their real-world inspirations — chart….

Similar to Fubuki in Kantai Collection, the main character in Strike Witches, Yoshika Miyafuji, occupies the first season working to prove herself as a capable member of the squad.  She ends up quickly surpassing many of her comrades, only deplete her magic executing the most OP ability in the entire series — only to, somehow, gain it all back again in the OVA.

Then again, who actually has watched this Anime for the “plot” anyway?

;P

Anime Spotlight #3

Back at it again!

Let’s take a look at When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace:

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Coming courtesy of (some of) the same people who gave us Gurren Lagann and Kill la Kill, this specific Anime show delves into the occult while still trying pass itself off as harem + magical-girl kind of Anime.

For me, the girls were mainly “window-dressing” – for the most part.  They usually weren’t all that entertaining on their own; their interest-factor was mainly provided by Jurai, the resident “chunibyou (Japanese for ‘eighth-grader syndrom’).”

Jurai obsesses over “powers” he claims to possess (that soon become very real), as well as various “word-magic” – as I’ll call it; the abilities he and his female friends receive need to be named in a specific way, even to the point where it causes one of the girls to think that he wants to be her boyfriend, but the best example here is the “nickname” he insists on being called:

Guiltia-sin Jurai.

The ability names are chosen based on the symbolism implied by the kanji when compared/contrasted to the katakana; however, his name is purely occult in meaning:  “Guiltia” is from “guilt,” from the Old English verb gieldan = “to pay for/be in debt to” which also derives modern-day “yield” and “gold”; in essence, “guilt” originally meant a debt or payment.  The word “sin,” in the name, is Germanic, from the root *sund- = “truth” from which the word “sooth” also derives; in other words, “sin” is “untruth” or a false truth (this jives with the original Hebrew word for sin, used in the Bible, meaning, essentially, “illusion”).

But, Jurai isn’t the only chunibyou in this Anime; there are, in fact, two boys with this trait.  The other boy is Kiryou – his “nickname” is…:

Kiryou Hell-kaiser Luci-first.

Once again, we have an absolutely occult-laden title:  “Hell” derives from Germanic *halyo = “underworld.”  “Kaiser” is the German transliteration of Latin Caesar (the surname of the infamous, first Roman dictator Gaius Iulius Caesar).  The “Luci-” part is “Lucifer,” which in Latin means “light-bringer.”  Finally, “first” is quite straight-forward….

Yes, I found the “word-magic” more interesting than the other stuff that was going on in the series…!  I did notice two allusions to Kill la Kill in the series, though:  The boxer’s life-fibre gloves, which were worn briefly by one of the Lit-club girls, and a camio by Mako swimming in a pool.

Watching the show, I got the impression that the creators were seriously hoping to produce a second season; a lot of plot points were introduced in the series that are, as it is now, left annoyingly hanging.  I’m hoping for a second season:  I’d like to know how things end!