The one who existed beforehand waking from a long and terrible nightmare. Reorienting to the daylight and the world as it existed before he first closed his eyes, letting the memory of the nightmare fade away.
Girls Need Heroes, Too: In Defense of Magical Girls
Of all the
different types of anime, the magical girl anime is probably the sub-genre that
is most looked down upon. Magical girl animes are bright and colorful, they
always involve middle- or junior-school-aged girls gaining superpowers and
having dramatic transformation scenes, and there’s plenty of fan service in
terms of skimpy outfits and simpering looks.
People, even the
more open-minded anime watchers, have a tendency to dismiss magical girl animes
due to what they perceive as a standard storyline and stock characterization;
they’re blinded by the plethora of pink, the frills and short skirts, and the
girlish laughter, and they miss the more serious and frequently dark side of these shows.
television show, anime or otherwise, magical girl animes have stories and
messages that are both entertaining and relevant. Few shows have as much
optimism and determination as magical girl animes, yet these shows also provide
a realistic (at least as realistic as you can get on shows where girls are
granted magical powers to fight the forces of evil) look at the sacrifices and
pain that heroes must face. Magical girl animes are able to blend important
lessons with joy and levity, and there are a number of reasons that they’re
One of my
favorite things about magical girl animes is the way they portray friendship.
Even if a magical girl starts out on her own, it’s inevitable that she’ll end
up surrounded by a team of other magical girls and occasionally a token magical
boy. Like any story involving teamwork, there’s going to be some conflicts and
some drama, but ultimately, it’s the strength of the team and their friendship
that helps them save the day.
don’t always start off as friends-in fact, they sometimes start off as
annoyances at best and flat-out adversaries at worst-but there are few things
that bring people together quite as well as having to save people (or the city
or the earth or the universe or all of space and time; you get the idea).
But despite the
task of working together to save the day, the friendships in magical girl
animes are always realistic. As I said, magical girls don’t always get along
with one another. Becoming a magical girl is rarely a choice; it’s typically
the result of some outside circumstance such as a perceived aptitude for being a hero, an accident, or a grand destiny, and as a result, the chosen girls are very
different types of people with different personalities, motives, and attitudes
towards their new role.
clashes are typically the direct result of these differences, yet as the girls
work more and more as a team, these conflicts become less and less common. It’s
hard to rely on someone to have your back without forming some sort of more personal
bond, and eventually, even those magical girls who would rather work alone find
themselves forming friendships with their fellow magical girls. There are still
plenty of ups and downs, but that’s true of any friendship, magical or
otherwise, and these shows aren’t afraid of portraying the good times along
with the bad, giving viewers a well-rounded look at the personal relationship
of magical girls. Yes, there may be more makeovers or shopping trips or
sleepovers than other animes, but these types of scenes go to show that magical
girls and other heroes have lives outside of saving the day, and they enjoy the
time they have with their friends doing things they enjoy.
But that doesn’t
mean these magical girls don’t enjoy kicking some bad guy butt. They’ve got
superpowers and awesome weapons and they know how to use them. Magical girl
animes are really at the top of the list in terms of girl power. These ladies
can fight, they can strategize and plan, they can work as a team and take down
any villain or monster that stands in their way, and they look cute while doing
In the world of
superheroes, there are infinitely more men than women, leaving young girls at a bit of a loss in
terms of role models. Magical girls provide female heroes for people to
look up to and admire. Magical girls fight for a cause, they don’t compromise
their values, and they’re willing to sacrifice themselves to save others.
They’re just as capable and worthy of admiration as any guy hero, yet they’re
often brushed aside because of their girlishness.
Which is really a
shame, because these magical girls are proof that you can be girly and still
totally kick butt. Whether it’s straight-up physical combat, mastery of
weapons-everything from guns to swords to archery to a yoyo- or actual
magical powers such as control over an element, these ladies are fearsome and
they’re powerful enough to hurt more than they help, particularly when it comes to getting hurt themselves. Magical
girls sometimes find themselves in situations that their weapons and skills
can’t overcome, and they must sacrifice some part of themselves, be it their
magical girl status, a physical ability, or their humanity itself. These are
frightening and painful decisions to make, yet magical girls never seem to back
down from making them. They know what has to be done, and they’re willing to do
whatever it takes to save the day.
being a magical girl of any kind would have its downsides might deter some from
accepting such a role, but those who do become magical girls always do so because
they believe in what being a magical girl embodies. Even more, they have hope
that their sacrifices and pain will make the world a better place. No matter
how dark things may get, it seems like magical girls have an ability for
endless hopefulness: hope that evil can be overcome, hope that people can
change, hope that their choice to do the right thing will be enough.
Their hope is not
always realistic and it’s not always rewarded, yet their unfailing willingness
to hope for something better even when all seems lost is admirable. Just seeing
magical girls pushing back against their enemies no matter what makes viewers
believe that their own problems can be overcome. Even when everything seems to
be falling apart, there’s hope that tomorrow will be better, and people have a
tendency to forget that. Luckily we have characters like magical girls to
remind us to be hopeful and to do whatever we can to bring hope to
animes truly have a lot to offer everyone. There are complex characters,
twisted and dramatic storylines, and epic fight scenes. Many of the shows have
fantastic animation as well, along with great scores and visually-stunning
Critics aren’t wrong when they say magical girl
animes are usually fluffier and more lighthearted than other animes or other
animated shows, but that’s not what makes these animes so good. These fluffy moments
provide a brief respite between the truly hard choices, the sacrifices and the
animes show that girls can be just as good as the boys. They can be just as
tough, just as powerful, just as heroic. And they can do it all while wearing a
combat skirt and heels, something I’d love to see their male counterparts
attempt. Magical girls and magical girl animes deserve the same acknowledgment
and appreciation as their contemporaries for being unabashedly what they are:
celebrations of the great things girls can do with hope, determination, and a
bit of magic.
How Achieving Your Dreams in a Way you Didn’t Envision is Not Always a Bad Thing
Week 2017 – Day 3 – Day Prompt, Victor Prompt – Dreams, Hope/Regret
Today for Victuuri Week Day 3, I’d like to talk about Hopes
and Dreams and how not achieving what you initially desire in the form you
envision isn’t always a bad thing. In this case, we’re going to look at what
Yuuri and Victor’s hopes and dreams for their futures may have been pre-series
and how they got way more than they bargained for simply by meeting each other.
Let’s start with Yuuri. We know right from the beginning of
episode 1, even before we knew the title of the episode, that Yuuri aspired to
skate on the same stage as Victor. We’re shown how this dream was formed and
nurtured by friends and family through his childhood and teen years and carried
by his feelings through to adulthood. He did everything he could to just come
close to Victor; whether that be through his skating, having his walls
plastered with posters of him, or even getting a dog of similar breed to Victor’s
and naming it after him. So Yuuri’s hope for the future was fairly obvious even
if it did have a time limit with the nature of the careers of competitive figure
Now how about Victor? We don’t really have enough
information about his childhood to conclusively say anything for certain but, as
far as we can tell, he didn’t have as clear of a dream laid out as Yuuri did. Optionally,
you could even argue that he had a dream before but had already reached it. This
is actually one of the major facets of his characterization and development
through the series. He is the polar opposite of Yuuri in that at the start of
the series he didn’t have any
concrete hopes for his future. All he knew is that he wanted to skate and keep
skating because this was just the thing he always did and had no reason to
change it. There may have been a time when skating (or even competing) might
have been called his dream, but by the start of the series it no longer was. It
had just become a thing he did due to his pride as a skater/competitor and his
lack of direction in his life overall.
And then, of course, the series truly begins and they meet
each other. Now, we could look through the evolution of how their hopes and
dreams changed over the course of the season but I think it will be more expedient
to look at where they started and ended and compare the two.
Starting with Yuuri, what’s interesting is that through the
course of the season you almost forget about the exact form of his initial
dream: to skate on the same ice as Victor. He managed to connect with Victor in
so many other ways but he had yet to actually compete against him. He may have
felt directionless at the start of the series because he felt he had failed at
reaching his dream but the reason for that was because he already had achieved
his dream. It just wasn’t in the way he envisioned. He then became
disillusioned with his dream. That is, until Victor himself came crashing
face-first into his life.
Speaking of our favourite platinum-haired Russian, let’s
check in with Victor. Victor may not have had a concrete dream before he met
Yuuri but then they connected and he slowly rediscovered that he actually did
have a dream all along. A dream that probably comes as no surprise but is
actually very similar to Yuuri’s own: he wants to skate. And he wants to enjoy
it. Yuuri then helped open his eyes to that, he helped him rediscover his love
of skating as a whole and through this rediscovered his hope for the future.
But wait, there’s more! Everything that I’ve talked about so
far actually only brings us to the end of ep 11. By the time the hotel room
scene comes around, Victor has rediscovered his love for skating and his focus,
his hope for the future, had become completely centered on Yuuri. So far as he
could see, his future was to coach Yuuri until Yuuri eventually retired and then
figure things out from there. And Victor was content with that as long as he
could do that with Yuuri. He had even
shifted his dream that involved enjoying skating to accommodate no longer being
Yuuri, however, had other plans (which we as viewers always
knew he did). Yuuri misread what Victor’s current hopes were and attempted to
sacrifice himself in an attempt to allow those dreams to come true. Yuuri had
adjusted his dream from wanting to skate on the same ice as Victor to wanting
to make Victor happy and allow him to reach his own dreams. On the flip side,
Victor had adjusted his dreams from wanting to skate for himself and find
purpose in his life to wanting to make Yuuri happy and achieve his dreams.
So if both are wanting, above anything else, to help the
other achieve their dreams then where do they go from there? Yuuri is planning
to retire and Victor has basically already done so. The answer comes back to
those initial dreams from episode 1. The dream Yuuri has to skate on the same
ice and same level as Victor and the incomplete dream Victor had to enjoy
skating again and find purpose in his life.
Through a combination of them both working towards helping
each other and some outside encouragement, they actually end up achieving so
much more. They both manage to achieve their hope of allowing their partner to
achieve his dreams and well as achieving their own. Yuuri is finally able to
skate on the same ice as Victor, as a competitor and someone that is on the
same competitive level as him, and Victor is able to rediscover his passion in
skating. And not only that, but they are able to continue their relationship that
exists both on and off the ice.
Comparing the place they’re at by the end of the series to
where they started at episode 1, we can see that their perceived failure to
achieve their initial dreams in the form they had envisioned actually helped
them achieve them in a way they hadn’t imagined. Through the willingness to
throw away their own dreams, they managed to push each other to higher heights
and not only achieve their own dreams but cement in place a firm hope for the
end, they became the key to not only achieving each others dreams but in doing
so also opened a previously hidden door to a new envisioning of their own initial
it is a story harry whispers to his daughter at night, sings to her as she rocks in her crib, retells over and over to an excited toddler and later, a dreamy teenager.
lily. for strength, and boldness, and fire. you of the red hair and striking temper, whose anger lashes out at injustice and cruelty. so that you may remember your history and remember your past, recall the love that imbues your life and the reason you stand here today. love is a conqueror, a fiery warrior who takes no prisoners. you have that in you, the recklessness, the wit, the spark.
luna. for friendship, and uniqueness, and bravery. you are too beautiful, inside and out, to care what others say, too marvelous to be ashamed of any part of you. you are gentle in the most unexpected of times, but you carry a backbone of steel. never lose that softness, never lose that hardness; hold both in you, a study in balance. treasure your friends and cherish your family. never sacrifice hope for jaded weariness.
your name, your two names, lily luna. one from the past, one from the present, and you. you, lily luna potter, you are the future.
rogue one did a lot of things i never thought they’d let a star wars movie do, in terms of: being a movie about Sacrifice and what that means and also
letting people into the club.
like, rogue one opens star wars to people in a way i wasn’t expecting. american voices and american accents are not nearly so prominent in this movie in way i’ve never seen before in a work of science fiction– diego luna and donnie yen and jiang wen all speak english and they also speak it with their accents and there’s something to that, that opens ownership and possession and interaction with this movie to people who don’t speak english natively.
and so much of the plot, the thrust, of this movie focuses on
fathers and daughters in a way that left me just breathless. motherhood is still essentially absent in this movie, but
opening star wars to women who feel themselves as daughters feels so big to me, as someone who loved and loves star wars with her dad, this was so validating.
and also: rogue one gives a view into the rebellion as a military network; cassian andor is a soldier and a spy and he knows soldiers and spies and he does things, terrible things, in the name of the rebellion, because war makes you do terrible, ugly, violent things in the name of things you believe in. there’s a very real weight to the violence that happens in rogue one that meant So much to me. living your politics means sacrifice in such a big way in rogue one, and it opens the narrative of loss in force awakens so much more clearly. leia and han falling apart makes so much more sense now
but just also
rogue one is a movie about hope. and i mean that, not in some corny cheesey way but in a Real! Tangible! way. and because rogue one is a movie about hope, it’s a movie about sacrifice.
Jesus’ love ran red so yours could be white as snow. Think about that sacrifice. Think about that gift. Then, when you feel like you can get up again, take those once-somber feet and tell the world about what He has done to make you new.
When Jesus looked down from the cross, he didn’t think “I am giving myself to you because you are so attractive to me.” No, he was in agony, and he looked down at us - denying him, abandoning him, and betraying him - and in the greatest act of love in history, he STAYED. He said, “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.” He loved us, not because we were lovely to him, but to make us lovely.