25 Mar 2011

kaigou: when in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand. (3 when in doubt)
(If you're not familiar, "shounen" means "boy", and is used as the genre-name for action/adventure stories geared towards boys, usually aged about 11-16 or so. "Shoujo" is the genre for girls of equivalent age.)

From endersgirrrl's review of Bloody Monday:
The shounen manga Bloody Monday was the brainchild of prolific writer Agi Tadashi (credited as Ryumon Ryou), who also penned the manga Kami no Shizuku [...] And it’s interesting how the shounen vs. shoujo genres play to two fundamentally disparate adolescent yearnings: shounen manga panders to every hormonal teenage boy’s most basic non-sexual fantasy, which is to be a Superhero (but — in disguise!!!), while shoujo manga puts a premium on an adolescent female protagonist realizing!her!relationships! — be they romantic or platonic.

Shounen manga is much more result-oriented, i.e. the teenage Hero with a small but loyal band of like-minded friends saves something or someone close to him, with the highest aspiration really being to SAVE THE WORLD. [...] In shounen manga, character development takes a backseat to plot (and plot is really all about Accomplishing!the!Mission!), while in shoujo manga, character development supersedes plot action as the protagonist/s are more focused on working through their feelings and experiencing inner growth — and all that sappy SweetValleyHigh-ish stuff, lol.

[In Bloody Monday, all] the staples of the quintessential shounen manga are here: a teenage Hero with “special abilities” (in this case, hacking and, uh, looking unbelievably good in hoodies); the Hero’s brainy best bud, who has his own “special-but-not-AS-special-as-the-Hero’s abilities” (in this case, archery skills and spouting random useless trivia — like when Christmas Day is really celebrated in Russia); their loyal friends (usually of the same age bracket — in this case, the Newspaper Club at school); the token Hot Chick on the side of the Baddies; a Mission that only the teenage Hero can accomplish (natch!); the techno-gadgetry and gizmo-geekery galore! galore!; and oodles of HardyBoy-esque action — chase sequences! messy explosions! and rooftop standoffs! (oh my!)


If [the show/manga plot] sounds vaguely familiar, you may recall the Aum Shinrikyo (now Aleph) terrorist cult that perpetrated the well-documented sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway in 1995, killing 12 commuters and injuring hundreds. [... Given] that the real-life Baddies’ shenanigans are obviously no child’s play, you understand why the manga writer would want to dull the edge of their depravity by sketching up these cartoonized (read = shounen-friendly) versions.

And the best way to dumb down all the crazymonkeybaddies? Is to make the TRUE ringleader… well, just like our teenage Hero. No I mean, literally just like our teenage Hero. So in the end, the Uber-Villain is revealed to be not a 50-year-old barefoot mystic, or a twentysomething math genius, but… oh, just another kid. [...] It’s stupid as sh*t, but you kind of understand how it also reveals the true heart of a 12-year-old manga-wanking fanboy: by vicariously channeling the story’s Hero, he can ONLY save the world IF the villain is just like him – in age, stature and abilities. This really is the ultimate shounen-manga satisfaction: by leveling the playing field, the inherent absurdity of a hormonal teenager saving the world becomes much, much easier to stomach. Whoopeeee. Long live the 12-year-old fanboy, may his precious manga collection never get eaten by termites, may mummy never catch him – uh, doing funny sh*t inside his closet with a stash of ecchi comics, and may he never turn into a sociopathic whack job later in life, lol.

I adore Ender's Girl's reviews, partly for often having some crucial insights I missed while watching, and always for having a completely torqued and spastic sense of humor that clearly loves the shows while skewering them mercilessly. (Even if you haven't seen the show, thus, EG's review is worth the five-minute read if you need a bit of levity in your day.)

Beyond that, though, I was thinking about something I was told when first writing urban fantasy... )

In a semi-related vein, I want to save this somewhere more reliable than just my email inbox, just because it's important to remember. From a thread on femslash, another Branchian piece of brilliant observation:
We can step around the boys, the same way slash steps around the girls, but we have to step wider because they’re taking up more space.
kaigou: Duo says: Mock your fandom. You know I'd do it, baby. (2 mock your fandom)
continued from part the second

This is for everyone on my flist who has watched or read Gundam. (And an extra shout-out to Recession, who probably hasn't had his heart broken in at least the past thirty seconds. Gundam heart, that is.)

After the wild success of the First Annual Break Hearts -- Fangirl Hearts -- we started talking about doing it again, this time at Akon. Four of us would be there -- me, Trowa, Wufei, and Duo -- and Quatre wasn't quite sure, plus the other two of the Terrible Threesome were also scrambling to see if they could afford the trip. But we had someone else willing to do Quatre, in fact quite determined to do Quatre (but only sans combover, sheesh). What could we possibly do with the Terrible Threesome, then? Plus, Duo and I had bandied about the notion of an elderly Relena in a pink tracksuit, but hadn't been able to talk anyone into joining us for that, and the Terrible Threesome would suddenly go quiet whenever we tried to do any convincing. Unh-hunh.

Until suddenly Sanzo spoke up, volunteering to be our Guest Star. No details were forthcoming. Only... guest star, but Sanzo (not so strangely) demurred on being Relena. Not really Sanzo's style (there's a reason we call Sanzo, Sanzo, just as there's a reason Duo gets called Duo and I get called Heero, and it's not just because of braid or... well, okay, in my case, it is mostly attitude, but anyway). The mystery looked like it'd be remaining a mystery, and our only clues were two last-minute incidents.

The first was contact from Sanzo, asking whether I knew where to get a wheelchair. The only time my family had needed one, we borrowed one from my parents' church, so that was the extent of that suggestion. Maybe someone knew someone in Dallas with a place to borrow/rent one? A few days later I got word that the issue was resolved, and that was right around the time I put in a call for any requests from the grocery store or liquor store, since I'd be driving to Akon while everyone else was flying.

Eventual shopping list: jaegermeister (of course, for Wufei and myself, one of our traditions), schnapps, I think gin or vodka, a bottle of wine, I think... and this.

Right. Two packs of mini applesauce containers.

I knew better than to ask questions. It was for the Guest Star. Good enough.

The rest of the saga behind the cut, with helpful explanatory pictures. )