DDA Top 10: #4: Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha

otachan.net_mahou_shoujo_lyrical_nanoha_279

It’s been a long time coming, but here we are.  The final four. The best of the veritable best.

And, much like Black Rock Shooter, I’m using this to accredit the entire franchise, as opposed to a single specific season. But the praise falls mostly on the span of the final half of Lyrical Nanoha through A’s, for the sticklers. But being such an expansive franchise, it’s hard not to just talk about everything.

Many people credit Madoka Magica as being the quintessential deconstruction of the Magical Girl genre. While it may be the revolutionary deconstruction, its forbearer is this series: Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha).

Sure, the themes don’t get AS dark (exactly…it’s hard to judge one tragedy against another), and its structure is not nearly as theatric as the Faustian elements that permeate Madoka. On the whole the Lyrical Nanoha series is still an upbeat one.

But I rather liken Nanoha to the works of Alfred Hitchcock.  Hitchcock, if you can’t put a face to the name, is of course the father of suspense and thriller film. The Birds, Psycho, his resume is impressive indeed.  But one thing he did that almost no horror/mystery/suspense directors do, is he played very strictly “by the rules”.  He rarely pushed the boundaries, which is probably part of why he became such a sensation. He rarely went for “shock value”, instead relying on cleverness and storytelling to illicit your reactions to his works.

Nanoha is similar in the regard that it plays by many of the traditional rules of the magical girl genre, but it bends the way the material is presented.  While it doesn’t twist the magical familiar into a Lovecraftian horror like Madoka would, it does present the life of a magical girl as a curse of sorts, and not a blessing.

For example, while there is combat like in, say, Pretty Cure, in Nanoha that combat often ends in hospitalizations for one or both parties. The evil witch in Nanoha, Precia Testarossa, doesn’t JUST want to be evil like Queen Beryl does, she beats her daughter and flogs her for failure, while we have to grimly sit and watch.  And while Madoka often explores the “dark” aspects of love, the selfish preconceptions and such, Nanoha explores the evils good people will commit FOR pure love.  Battling evil isn’t a sacred duty, it is a last resort, and in a sense, Lyrical Nanoha could be considered an anti-war series. I’ll get into that point deeper later.

Which is why, as a fan of both series, I wince whenever anyone proclaims Madoka Magica changed the magical girl genre forever.

Yes, but not as much as you think.

As always with the Top 10s, there will be spoilers. But! If you are new to the series but not sure how to get into it, read the next section, it’s for you, and basically spoiler free. Continue reading

Advertisements

100th Post: The Anatomy of Yuri Goggles: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Flowers

1386286786534

Evidence is Not the Same Thing as Proof

So throughout the past months in KILL la KILL I have made several jokes regarding Yuri Goggles. This is a subject of some personal fascination for me. And since this blog exists to let me yap about what I want, let’s take a deeper look into this issue.  All the more fitting now that Nobunagun and Sakura Trick have worked their way into my blog.

Be warned, ye enter forbidden, uncharted waters.  I might ramble for hours. Who knows? Anything could happen! Come see Anna be academic serious less of an asshole! After all, it is the 100th post.

Yuri Goggles, for those who are unfamiliar, is the term applied to when a viewer interprets a scene between two characters as being homoerotic, specifically between two women.  The resulting girl on girl isn’t outright stated to be romantic, but is merely one of many ways to interpret art.

There are various types of goggles, too. The term “goggle” simply means you have put up a lens through which you are passing information through with a specific objective.  This applies to anything, including counterpart Yaoi goggles. More familiar, you may be aware of the whole “proving God” argument. If I am someone of faith, you cannot disprove to me that a miraculous event was not God’s will. If I am someone without, you cannot prove to me that it is. Both are sets of goggles towards which bias enters, and the degree to that lens, that is to say, the degree of the warping of the information being given to you, will vary from person to person, issue to issue.

This association leads many to dismiss any interpretation that may lend itself to Goggles, But I think in the case of Yuri Goggles, we have to dig a few steps deeper to understand their usefulness.

For the record: We will be addressing MANY examples, and some are series that we have not covered. If you wish to avoid spoilers for these shows, abandon hope. Continue reading