Anime ReviewsUncategorized

Otaku University – Lesson 3: What is Mahou Shoujo?

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Otaku University Lesson 3

Welcome, class! Zaktaku-sensei here for the third lesson of Otaku University, your guide for everything you need to know about being proper otakus! This week, we’ll be covering a relatively popular genre of anime, Mahou Shoujo, or ‘Magical Girls.’ Let’s start our lesson!

Mahou Shoujo is a subgenre of fantasy anime and manga, which follow girls who use magical powers to fight evil. Usually, the first universally accepted Mahou Shoujo was Princess Knight, which was released in 1953. Princess Knight ended up creating one of the most popular anime genres of all time, spawning critically acclaimed anime such as Kill la Kill, Sailor Moon, Princess Tutu, and Cardcaptor Sakura.

Recently, spins have been made on the genre involving ‘magical boys.’ Such examples are the Cute High Earth Defense Club Love!, where the genre is parodied by men crossdressing as magical girls, and Is This a Zombie?, where a male zombie becomes a magical girl after accidentally stealing the powers of one.

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Inside the realm of Mahou Shoujo, there are multiple categories for a certain anime to fall under, three to be exact. These categories were spawned after the rule of Sailor Moon, probably one of the most popular Mahou Shoujo animes in the west. Those three categories are Neoclassical, Action Hero, and Deconstruction.

Neoclassical is, as the name states, a take on the original Mahou Shoujos of old, except updated for a more modern audience. It usually includes how women fit inside modern society, displaying what the author believes to be ‘correct gender roles.’ I didn’t think we had true gender roles anymore.

Anyway, Neoclassical is aimed towards young girls, like a traditional shoujo, but has a large demographic of adult males watching it. Think of it as My Little Pony for anime.

Really popular examples would include Cardcaptor Sakura, Pretty Cure!, and Ojamajo Doremi.

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Next is Action Hero, which began with Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, are normally targeted towards teenage and adult males. So obviously, there’s something quite fanservice-y about them. Action Hero generally has a hot-blooded main protagonist, who can usually handle herself in the heat of combat and not have to rely on ‘friendship.’ Sailor Moon, I’m looking at you. They also have over the top fighting scenes, which includes people having special attacks that have epic names (Example: Mystletainn Kick), the total ignorance of basic physics, and tons of fan service. Think of Action Hero as the Mahou Shoujo version of the ‘Super Robot’ subgenre of mecha. (If you wanna learn about mecha, follow this conveniently located link!)

Additionally, when it comes to Action Hero, they have an obscenely large cast of female characters. Literally, this is designed to lure in men…because…men are dumb…dirty…and disgusting…right? Please don’t kill me, ladies.

Notable Action Hero mahou shoujo animes  would include Kill la Kill, Senki Zesshou Symphogear, and Vividred Operation.

Screen shot 2012-02-12 at 5.41.19 PM

And finally, we come to the Deconstruction mahou shoujo category, which recently surged into popularity. In Deconstruction, the main characters fight evil in a world that is not what it seems: Where everything is colorful and bright until it turns out horrible wrong.  Usually, what ends up happening, is we get a trip through the psyche of each character to show the horrors of each of their mind. This quite literally is the darkest of all the subgenres of mahou shoujo, especially if you factor in all of the philosophical or religious messages in each of these shows.

Popular examples are Princess Tutu, Yuki Yana is a Hero, and that’s it…nothing else…serious guys…just skip past the next picture…

Oh, okay! Who am I kidding! Of course, there’s Puella Magi Madoka Magica, which was essentially named ‘the Neon Genesis Evangelion’ of mahou shoujo anime.

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All in all, mahou shoujo anime is a very broad genre with very diverse subgenres. You have Neoclassical, which is your happy-go-lucky-girls-adventures; Action Hero, a testosterone driven thrill ride that would make even Michael Bay blush; and Deconstruction, which dives into the dark side of this genre.

And those are the basics of mahou shoujo anime today, without me going over too much of the history of the genre. If you’d enjoyed this lesson, please leave a like so I know you did. Have a correction, tidbit of information you’d like to share, or even a suggestion for the next lesson, feel free to drop a comment below! Zaktaku-sensei is all ears!

But until next time…

Class dismissed!

Sailor Moon Crystal is created by Toei Animation

Kill la Kill is created by Trigger

Cardcaptor Sakura is created by Madhouse

Senki Zesshou Symphogear was created by Satelight and Encourage Films

Puella Magic Madoka Magica was created by Shaft…pfft…funny name…god, men are disgusting pigs.

Please don’t sue us.

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Top 5 Characters I Want in Super Smash Bros for Wii U

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With Cloud from Final Fantasy VII being announced for an upcoming Super Smash Bros DLC, and the looming prospect of a special “December Nintendo Direct” all about the game, I decided to make my wish list for who I would want announced.

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OpinionUncategorized

Fan Service or Filler: What is the Real Poison of Anime?

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If you were to ask most anime fans what their least favorite aspects of anime, they would probably say one of three things: fan service, filler, and fandoms. The last one will be talked about in it’s own article, because it’s a vast topic to discuss, but we’re here this week to talk about what the most toxic thing to the anime community is, fan service or filler. Now, as a pretense, this is all my opinion, so take it with a grain of salt. My opinion most likely differs from your’s, so you don’t have to take everything I say as fact. And actually, you could voice your opinion in the comments below, because I do read them and usually respond.

Let’s start off with a definition of what fan service and filler is. Fan service is material intentionally added to anime to please their audience, thus servicing them. It usually comes in the form of ecchi situations, such as a beach or hotspring episode or a particularly suggestive scene. Filler is the addition of non-canonical scenes in anime, which wasn’t in the original source material. Examples of this would be the two years of fillers after Naruto and Sasuke’s fight in the original Naruto, and the Bount arc in Bleach. It is essentially useless fluff to the main story.

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Fan service is really bad because of how it treats the audience.

It makes us otakus seem like depraved sexual deviants, especially in the areas of yaoi and every shonen anime ever made. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to explain my way out of situations when my mother showed up right when fan service happens…let’s just say awkward is an understatement. Fan service just further paints a bad picture of us, in a world where we’re all looked down on anyway as simple geeks. Now, in their eyes, we’re geeks and perverts.

This wouldn’t be bad, if fan service really didn’t ruin the anime they were in. I’ve seen countless promising anime tarnished by the black spots of audience pandering, such examples being Sword Art Online, Highschool of the Dead (would have been a great horror zombie survival show), and Agame Ga Kill. I feel like these anime would have been much better if we didn’t have suggestions of tentacle rape or the balancing of an AK-47 on someone’s chest. As far as Agame Ga Kill went…yeah, that was already soulless to begin with. They try to increase the interest of testosterone-fueled fan boys, but it makes the anime seem immature and childish.

Like a ten year old who figured out how to turn 8008 into the word ‘boob’ on a calculator. (Don’t lie, every boy has done that sometime in class to pass the time.)

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Filler is probably one of the most annoying things known to any anime fan, ever. Not saying it’s necessarily worse than fan service, as that’s more offensive and annoying at the same time, but filler is more rage inducing.

There was no worse feeling than having a battle in the middle of Bleach stop, only to be replaced by an entire arc that never even existed in the source material. Having original content in an anime adaptation isn’t bad, because it’s an adaptation, but half of it is done so lazily. When was the last time anyone said that their favorite part of Naruto was the part with Sora? Or that the Bount arc of Bleach was the best written storyline? I never have.

Most of the time, it happens because the anime catches up with the manga, as is the case with a lot of the shonen series. Instead of ending a season, as anime like Attack on Titan were smart to do, they decide to cut off their running content and start their own. As if we didn’t notice the difference.

The worst part? If the filler arcs were to affect the main story drastically, the people who enjoyed the source material would get furious that the anime deviated for the original story. How am I supposed to be invested in an arc if it technically never happened? And there’s never any suspense if the main character fights a powerful enemy, because if a character were to die in a filler, the amount of hate that people would feel towards your anime would be unparalleled.

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For my personal opinion, fillers are worse than fan service.

Don’t get me wrong, fan service can be horrible, but it’s easy to overlook as it usually lasts a few scenes and at most an entire episode. However, with fillers, it’s blatantly in your face the entire time. It can take up 13 to 25 episodes, which is absolutely absurd! And half of us wonder why these Shonen Jump series are hundreds of episodes long!

To me, filler represents some corporate greed. Think about why they didn’t just end on a season finale when they ran out of source material. Because their anime is making a lot of money! And you won’t make as much money if you don’t have any episodes, right? I applaud series like Attack on Titan, that stopped to let the manga catch up with it, as opposed to making fillers about Connie’s or Sasha’s back story.

And if you wanna think about it this way, fillers can house fan service, too. Now that’s a horrifying thought, isn’t it?

That’s it for now. If you want to tell me what you think is worse in the anime community, filler or fan service, leave your comment down below. And if you liked what you read, consider leaving a “like” so I know. Until next time, this has been the Anime Analyst. Zachary, out.

Disclaimers:

Header image: “Kill la Kill” from Studio Trigger

Image 1: “Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club” from Kyoto Animation

Image 2: “Bleach” from Studio Pierrot

Image 3: “Naruto” from Studio Pierrot

Neither Zaktaku or UnimeTV owns the screenshots used in this article. Please don’t sue us…especially Zaktaku.

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Anime ListsUncategorized

Top 10 Scariest Video Game Enemies – SOS

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There are some video game enemies that are a cakewalk, like the Draugers in Skyrim and the Moblins in Zelda. Not scary in the slightest, right?

Well, unfortunately, that’s not what we’re talking about today. Instead of being a ‘cakewalk,’ these baddies make us cry ourselves to sleep when they eventually kill us. Whether it be because of childhood trauma, simple jump scares, creepy design and behavior, or all of the above, these guys make all of our gaming experiences miserable.

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Hellsing Ultimate Review – S.O.S.

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The time for Halloween is upon us, as dictated with the special tag ‘Spooky October Special.’ It’s a time for terror, for screams, for the darkest part of our imaginations to take root into our reality. One of the most popular of these ‘darkest parts of our minds’ is the classic, blood thirsting vampire. No, I’m not talking about those horrible sparkling ones that almost ruined the entire mythical race, but the vampires that’ll rip out your throat because they had a case of the munchies.

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Top 10 Video Games that Should Be Anime

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Persona 4. Danganronpa. Steins;Gate. Pokemon. School Days. Devil May Cry. These are a few of the video games that have been serialized into anime, where we let our favorite games fall into the chaos of Otaku-dom.

We’ve all had video games that we’ve wanted translated into an anime form, to truly appreciate the story without having to be stuck on the same level for 500 years. Well, not all the games on the list will have the best story, but in my opinion, I would love to see all of these transcend into the world of moe and mechas.

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Zaktaku’s Connection – Steins;Gate

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What separates great anime from anime that transcends greatness is our own personal connection to them. Whether it be because you hated an anime so much that you ended up liking it in some weird, masochistic way; or giving it the kind of glory reserved for the child of god, the closer you are with an anime the higher you look at it.

We’re here today to talk about the anime I feel the closest to, Steins;Gate. If you hate Steins;Gate, the ‘Close window’ button is on the upper right-hand corner of your screen, feel free to leave this article.

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