Charge Ahead!: Ogiue Maniax Status Update for July 2016

Don’t forget, the Ogiue Maniax Love Live! Contest ends this Saturday!

With that out of the way, let’s get back to our regularly scheduled monthly blog update.

As always, much thanks to my Patreon sponsors:

General:

Johnny Trovato

Ko Ransom

Alex

Diogo Prado

Sasahara Keiko fans:

Kristopher Hostead

Yoshitake Rika fans:

Elliot Page

Hato Kenjirou fans:

Elizabeth

Yajima Mirei fans:

Machi-Kurada

A special thanks to Diogo in particular for giving me an amazing present: Volume 1 of the Brazilian edition of Genshiken!

genshiken-brazilian

A new season of anime is on the horizon, and I’m looking forward to checking out as much as I can. I’m most looking forward to Love Live! Sunshine!!, which started airing just this past weekend. Unfortunately, I tend to watch many more shows than I have time to write about, so often some of my favorite series don’t end up getting blog posts dedicated to them. I’m considering doing something about that, but it’s always a small struggle between writing about the anime and manga that no one’s looking at to get them more exposure and talking about the things I like that people already have some familiarity with so that there’s an easier connection to be made.

I think that, due to a lack of time, my posts have started getting a bit shorter again. I believe that there are strengths and weaknesses to larger and shorter entries, but it also means that Ogiue Maniax might feel more like the scratchpad for my thoughts that it originally was in the first place. What do you readers think of this, and is there any kind of preferred ratio for you?

June’s post of the month has to be the review of Genshiken Chapter 125. I know, I know, Genshiken is a highlight every month, but I think this is a real case of the manga zagging when you thought it would zig, and it more than anything else reminds me of how wonderful a series Genshiken is.

I also have more reports from my trip to Japan, including my visit to two different Love Live! events, and a look at Comic Store Wonderland in Osaka, which is home to a ton of amazing autographs from famous manga artists. The Hanayo bag I bought at the doujin event is quite possibly my favorite piece of merchandise from Japan. Taketayo~

Another highlight is my review of the new Cardcaptor Sakura manga. CLAMP is back! I mean, they’ve never left, but I just lost interest after years and years of Tsubasa and XXXHolic. This new CCS really feels like a return to form, and I’ve already got plans to get each issue of Nakayoshi as it comes out in Japan.

Lastly, I wrote a post about Mystic Archives of Dantalian, as requested by Patreon sponsor Johnny Trovato, where I explore the show’s intersection with the idea of chuunibyou.

As always, if you’re interested in having me write about something, you can make a pledge through Patreon.  And if you’ve ever wondered why that tier is so high, it’s actually because I really want Ogiue Maniax to still be a space where I share and explore my thoughts, and so having the blog just be about fulfilling requests isn’t what I really want. However, because I’m also always eager to broaden my horizons, I invite the opportunity to make me watch or read or talk about something I might not have thought of otherwise.

I hope you all have a great July. I’ll be spending the month getting panels ready for Otakon in August. If any of you are going, I look forward to possibly seeing you.

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Nanoha Cannot Be the Best Magical Girl Anime

I take issue with people who declare Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha (or one of its sequels) to be the best Magical Girl series ever. The magical girl genre is understandably focused primarily on relationships, the pursuit of love, and other similar themes. Nanoha, meanwhile, is noted for its magical girls engaging in earth-shattering battles with devastating laser barrages and bone-shattering impacts. The general impression I get from people who make the claim is that Nanoha is great because it’s a magical girl show without all the fluff and romance.

In other words, it’s the best magical girl show for being nothing like a magical girl show.

I don’t think this is a case of breaking genre conventions, though the thought occurred to me. It’s different from a show like Evangelion which turned the mecha genre on its ear because Evangelion did not go against what defines the mecha genre in the first place. The characters may have been emotional wrecks, but the common theme of humanity and its relationship with war and suffering is a long-running concept since even before First Gundam, and it’s present in Evangelion with a twist. Princess Tutu, as an example closer to the topic of Nanoha at hand, approaches the issue of meta-stories and the very nature of “story” itself, but it maintains itself as a magical girl series with, again, its emphasis on relationships.

I like the Nanoha series, but the appeal of it is more like a Sunrise mecha show than it is a magical girl series, and I think to judge it from that perspective is a little unusual. It would be like saying that a plate of spaghetti you just ate is the best yakisoba ever, despite tasting nothing like how a yakisoba should. The key word in mahou shoujo is shoujo, and personally I think the fact that Nanoha is basically only a magical girl show on the surface automatically disqualifies it.

PS: If you’re wondering what I consider to be the best magical girl series, Cardcaptor Sakura, of course.

Crossing Gender-oriented Genres and Fan Reaction

I’ve been thinking about those works which cross the line between various genres of anime, particularly those which bridge the gap between “male-oriented” and “female-oriented” labels. Series like Saint Seiya and Cardcaptor Sakura manage to capture an audience beyond their main targets, while others such as Gundam Wing and Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha not only bridge the gap, they cross over and begin to set fire to the ropes.

I know I have some issues with Nanoha, and while I think it’s a fine series overall, it never completely shakes that feeling that yes, this is totally intended for guys like me who love Cardcaptor Sakura (though not in that way personally), and it is kind of creepy for doing so. I know Gundam Wing is often considered far more of a black sheep than G Gundam among male fans of the Gundam franchise, for the way it perhaps overly de-emphasizes aspects often associated with Gundam, never mind that the original series garnered more than a few female fans of Red Comet Char Aznable and his zany (dead) friend, Garma Zabi. It’s just interesting to see this negative reaction in both myself and others pertaining to certain series and our expectations of what a show should entail.

I wonder if it’d be possible for genres to swap almost completely.