Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Did you know that they made a musical out of James Tiptree, Jr.'s short story "The Girl Who Was Plugged In"? Yeah, my mind boggled too.

And when I say "they," I don't mean a bunch of clueless amateurs. The music was written by Alan Menken, who wrote the music for a number of Disney's hits, including Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid, among other things. And David Spencer, the lyricist and co-author of the book, and Alan Brennert, the other co-author, are also professionals.

I haven't seen or heard it, but I've read the script. (It's actually a one-act musical, and its script is packaged with another one-act SF musical under the title Weird Romance.) Its plot actually sticks fairly close to Tiptree's story, except for the ending, but the tone is completely different. The musical is a story of two idealistic young lovers crushed by a cruel world, with a hint of "love conquers all": exactly the sort of thing Tiptree's story satirizes. Frankly, I thought the script was pretty bad. (To be fair, though, I might feel differently if I saw it on the stage with the music.) But evidently somebody liked it: Weird Romance premiered off-Broadway and still pops up here and there occasionally, and Columbia even released an original cast album.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006


First, here's an amusing take on Futari Etchi (via John Jakala).

Second, the latest debate raging in the manga blogosphere is over Seven Seas' announcement that they've licensed Kodomo no Jikan, a manga which, while it apparently has no actual sex, has heavy lolicon overtones. Specifically, the question is whether the appearance of such a title is likely to provoke a backlash. ("Lolicon" is a Japanese word that American manga circles have taken up, denoting a sexual interest in pre-pubescent girls, or manga, anime, etc. which appeal to such interests.) If you want to follow the debate, the easiest way is to start with these posts by Dirk Deppey and follow the links. (Note that the second of these posts contains an NSFW* image.) For whatever it's worth, my two cents are in a comment to the first of these posts.

All I want to do here, though, is quickly look at the other comics the mangaka Kaworu Watashiya has done; or rather, look at their covers, which can be found on this page of her website (via Simon Jones; there's also an NSFW image at the Jones link). As you can see, it's a fairly eclectic assortment. Her longest-running series, Chibi to Boku, ("Chibi and Me") is about cats, while her next-longest running, Seishun Binta! ("Youth Binta!") is a young men's (seinen) manga, apparently about a busty young woman and her female friends. The one I'm curious about is a little less than halfway down, Ikkai Yarashite ("Just Let Me Have Sex with You"), whose cover image is a cartoony drawing of woman with her panties pulled down, holding aloft an object that might be a vibrator, a very large insect, or a cactus.

*Not Safe For Work

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