A long and bloody war, or perhaps an accumulation of several wars are inflicted upon America… Or a region of America… Or maybe it’s just Louisiana… Anyhow, THE EVENT leads to a re-emergence of feudalism. Swathes of territory, known as The Badlands, come under the control of seven rival Barons who ban the use of guns, and each have their own holdings, fortifications, serfs known as ‘cogs’ and armies of trained assassins termed ‘Clippers.’ Clippers act a bit like Samurai retainers, and are trained in the art of hand-to-hand combat and melee weaponry. Their sole function is to protect and kill for their baron.
Our main protagonist is Sunny, a man who was found as a child and made Clipper by his Baron, Quinn. In the opening of the first episode, Sunny saves a boy called MK , whose name I assume is either short for Mortal Kombat or Milton Keynes, from a group of good-for-nothing outlaws. Sunny learns that MK was to be handed over to Femme Baron, The Widow, in order to exploit his ‘power’. Basically he’s Deus Ex Machina whenever he bleeds (and performs some sick fatalities).
What piqued my interest in this series was Amazon Prime’s intriguing yet vague synopsis: ‘The series features a story about a warrior and a young boy who journey through a dangerous feudal land together seeking enlightenment.’ With the promotional image being a far-eastern guy with a katana. Immediately I had visions of Mad Max meets Kung Fu. A bit of faux-Buddhism, like the type espoused by cartoon Pandas or men in pyjamas with laser swords, but set instead in a post-apocalyptic America.
Did you like X-Men but cannot entertain anyone over the age of 18?
Do you like pointless J-Pop sequences interspersed with Engrish?
Does time travel for the sake of time travel appeal to you?
Are plot holes inconsequential?
Do you like ongoing jokes about omelettes smothered in a gross pizza sauce?
If you answered yes to all of the above, watch Charlotte!
When I look back at some of my favourite anime series, I am met with the worrisome notion that I am perhaps the devil incarnate. I adore Neon Genesis Evangelion and Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica, they are two franchises I have, and will continue to throw money at, a la the Philip J Fry meme. But what do these two series have in common? They feature children undergoing mental breakdowns. Children having existential crises. Children being turned into flesh confetti…
Now, there isn’t a particular feature on AnimePlanet or MyAnimeList for ‘recommendations on child suffering anime’ (perhaps it’s a list I need to draft), but I was recommended an anime that I believe to be the third piece of the misopedia triforce: Bokurano.
On the surface, Fullmetal Alchemist could easily be a fun ‘little’ Shonen romp about the adventures of two brothers trying to regain an arm, a leg and their entire corporeal being through magic and fisticuffs. But there’s more to it. FMA is a multi-layered trifle of deliciousness. Once you’ve penetrated the whipped cream of frivolity, you’re met with the custard of war, the jelly of political corruption and the sponge of genocide. Mmmmm, mass death….
If this was one of those hipster trifles, I’d say FMA’s salted caramel/lavendar petals/beard shavings was Kabbalah and esotericism.
Christ, I miss Space Operas; those stunning, camp, grandiose affairs. I yearn once again for cow-pat head aliens, intergalactic treaties and war. Planets ending in the word ‘Prime.’ Shakespearean dramas and philosophical discourses played out in a series of dimly lit corridors. Alien languages that sound like broken Estonian after you’ve had root canal surgery. And most importantly, a sense of boundless optimism; the idea that humanity (and other sentient life) is going places, exploring that boundless, beautiful frontier.
Until as a society we decided humanity was not THE SHIT, just, shit.
Kirigaya ‘Kirito’ Kazuto Aka The Black Swordsman, Aka the Twin Blade Swordsman, Aka Pussy-Magnet General
Disclaimer: most of the verbal diarrhea below is entirely based on watching the first Sword Art Online anime, I couldn’t bring myself to watch Sword Art Online II. I could use this as a space to ramble on about how the pacing of SAO was god awful and its depiction of female characters infuriating… Regrettably, I shall try to keep my vitriol to a minimum.
It’s the year 2022 and virtual reality is no longer shit. A 14 year old school boy named Kirito spends copious amounts of time playing MMO games using a VR system called the ‘Nerve Gear.’ This becomes more than just a ‘pastime’ however, when Kirito and 10,000 other players are trapped inside the game Sword Art Online by evil game designer Peter Moly… Kayaba Akihiko. It’s a death game (definitely not overdone in Japan). Players cannot log out, and If you die in the game, your brain in reduced to mushy peas in real life. To escape, players must defeat the bosses on each floor of the floating castle Aincrad. I bet you can’t guess who become video game Moses!?
The Origin Story
Also known as the ‘Marty Stu,’ is often considered the male equivalent of the ‘Mary Sue’ trope, conceived via the world of Star Trek fanfiction.
Mary Sue was a character devised by Paula Smith in her Magnum Opus “A Trekkie’s Tale,” published in December 1974. Unlike many anime-related examples, however, this was intended to be satirical; almost a critique of the unrealistic female protagonists depicted in other works of Trek fanfiction. Mary, a 15 and a half year old Lieutenant had tits, brains and swagger. Every canon character of Trekverse became smitten with her bountiful charm, but whilst her every being excreted pheromones more potent than Axe body spray, she would often turn down the sexual advances of the ship’s male-kind, including its chief ‘ Hunk of Spunk.’
“Gee, golly, gosh, gloriosky,” thought Mary Sue as she stepped on the bridge of the Enterprise.
“Here I am, the youngest lieutenant in the fleet – only fifteen and a half years old.”
Captain Kirk came up to her.
“Oh, Lieutenant, I love you madly. Will you come to bed with me?”
“Captain! I am not that kind of girl!”
“You’re right, and I respect you for it. Here, take over the ship for a minute
while I go get some coffee for us.”
(To be honest, I’d take a 100% Arabica brew any day).
Creating a single, clear-cut definition for the Mary Sue trope however has raised differing opinions, but to put it simply, she is an idealised projection of her author.