Short Story – Gardes

I have been reconsidering what can be done with lost-world and ancient civilisation narratives. And I realised that an imagined setting I was working on, of a magical school in an ultimately colonial age, could stand to be shaken up a little.

Thus I wrote this, about an emissary of a lost civilisation making his existence known to the world. It is a direct sequel to Lunch at the Real…

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Short Story – Lunch at the Real

The inspiration for this story came from the aesthetics of Dishonored 2, which took steampunk and industrial fantasy into the Mediterranean; there was a lot to like about this, and I simply ran with the inspiration it invited into a magic-school setting.

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What Even is Pluto? (Cherkaoui/Bunkamura)

Not knowing a significant amount about Astro Boy outside of having seen Atom the Beginning, I perhaps entered the stage show Pluto with a very different perspective; one of a true outsider to the source material, aware of it by reputation and not so much from personal familiarity. This open-mindedness will inform this review; I am aware of the debt so much science-fiction anime owes to Astro Boy, but only from this secondary perspective.

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Short Story – “Night / Morning”

This is, effectively, a rewrite of a story I wrote on this blog a long time ago, ThanksI thought Thanks was a decent enough piece of writing, but I wanted to try and make it more descriptive, more of an attempt to paint an immediate scene rather than anything else. To try and communicate a wide range of feelings and sensations, to paint a picture with more senses.

And to decouple “realism” in military science-fiction from pessimism and cynicism and darkness and just paint it as bathetic routine and minor irritations, with a bit of humanity.

I’d like to extend some thanks to @schneiderheim on Twitter for helping proofread this.

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“Garden of Eden” Chapter Fourteen: The Exciting Dance

Everything continues to build towards the big race, yet the most interesting thing I found when writing this was how it let me throw down in words, in safe, science-fiction form, snapshots of my own introspection.

While this is, throughout, a work of colourful fantasy, I think it is from these chapters onwards where I let a little more of my own doubts and memories cloud the characters.

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“I Am Unreasonable Mad About This Stupid Show” – Twitter User @R042 on Record of Grancrest War

It is hard to easily express in which ways Grancrest War is bad; it is, in my opinion, such a combination of failed attempts to be interesting it ends up a singular kind of ridiculously uninspiring. Even trying to consider it from within its genre, a teen-focused power fantasy series, it feels alienatingly stupid. When writing about anime it is often easy to forget that much of it is written as mass entertainment for young people, and that approaching it with the expectations of an adult fandom is rarely fruitful. So anything that seems alienating and other may simply be something that an older audience are out of touch with, a reflection of, ultimately, a foreign country’s trends in youth culture. That is as maybe; I maintain Record of Grancrest War is still not very good.

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People Finally Convince Me To Watch Cardcaptor Sakura (Just As The Sequel Comes Out)

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It took the announcement of a sequel to Cardcaptor Sakura to convince me to watch it, not out of any particular lack of interest in the series (for I had heard from many people it was rather good) but more out of a lack of time and too many other things on my queue of things to watch. Nevertheless, I have now begun watching it, and am rather pleased I decided to because it is proving enjoyable and, crucially, interesting in ways I did not quite expect.

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Series Review: Ultraman GEED

Ultraman GEED was the first series in the franchise I had watched to completion, and it proved consistently impressive – not least because of the enthusiasm and love the cast seemed to have for it, which came across very clearly in the performances. It was a series that managed to make something quite continuity-heavy accessible; by this point there is a fairly established Ultraman mythos, so to speak, and the relationships between the various heroes and villains are quite central to the main plot of GEED. Nevertheless, it used various different angles to make itself accessible to its family audience – if anything, Ultraman is interesting in the long-running superhero franchises because it is very focused on referencing and maintaining its canon, but at the same time doing so in a way that attracts, rather than puts off, new fans.

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Because I Am What You May Call An Idiot, I Wrote Nearly 1500 Words About Buddy Complex

Or, Virtue Rewarded, How I Stopped Worrying & Learned To Love the Bomb,

At Least It Isn’t Cross Ange

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It is not accurate to say Buddy Complex is a series that deserves defending, because it is plainly not particularly good, interesting or new. The parts that are good are not new, and the parts that are new are not good. On the other hand, I am finding it a series worth watching because it is so unashamedly unimaginative it ends up the sort of show that epitomises every cliché possible with earnest sincerity. Within five minutes of episode one starting, once you know the jargon being thrown about, any viewer who has seen at least one other military robot anime will be able to predict everything that will happen for at least the first two and a half episodes – and that will happen without any attempt to do anything different.

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Series Review – Special Rescue Police Winspector

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Special Rescue Police Winspector (1990) is a series that regularly has me overreacting to its stupidity; it is gloriously over-the-top, often nonsensical in its approach to science and science fiction, and feels at times like it has perhaps two or three stock plots that are recycled in different settings. At the same time, though, I would absolutely recommend it to people looking for an entertaining and frequently plain daft superhero series. It may be stupid and contrived, even within the standards of its genre, but it is stupid in a very sincere and heartfelt way which manages – often enough – to make the viewer feel like they are laughing with the writing not purely at it.

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