fiction

Indulging our lowbrow influences — Little Witch Academia

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When I was younger, I consumed books. Every Saturday morning was spent pouring through another story after breakfast until I was kicked outside by my parents to do yardwork. When I fell ill — this happened fairly regularly — books would pile up underneath my pillow. I slept flat, without a pillow or on my arm, because the pillow concealed books from my parents. After they checked in on me before going to bed themselves, I would turn my nightlight on, curl up, and continue reading.

To this day, I don’t sleep on a pillow. To this day, my parents still believe that I was afraid of the dark until I was well into high school.

In fifth grade, I was inspired to play the piano after seeing the Boston Symphony Orchestra play Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.” A renowned, and generally well-liked work, there’s no shame in saying that “Pictures at an Exhibition” was an inspiration. It makes for a cute anecdote— one where an elusive sense of so-called good taste is implied.

There’s far more shame in saying that you were inspired to become a writer from Ann M Martin’s Baby-Sitter’s Club series, RL Stine’s Goosebumps series, or Michael Stackpole’s Rogue Squadron — the latter of which skirts fanfiction territory, inviting even more derision. Inspiration is something that’s deeply personal, regardless if your impetus for picking up writing comes from Stephenie Meyer’s twilight or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

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A Breadcrumb Trail in Flip Flappers — the Witch

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When faced with the danger of becoming lost in a snowy, Pure Illusion forest, Cocona takes a page out of Hansel and Gretel, placing small snacks to mark her path in the snow. Papika trails behind, eating the snacks one-by-one to Cocona’s dismay.

Snacks are all that Flip Flappers gives us — and Cocona — for the first nine episodes. Only in Episode 10 do the pieces scattered throughout the series begin to come together. Even after Episodes 11 and 12, which are much heavier in exposition than anything that precedes them, the series still deals primarily in small, now additive pieces that collect and accumulate like the Pure Illusion snow.

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Swimming in Love and Capitalism: Kyoko Okazaki’s “Pink”

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“‘Love isn’t that tepid and lukewarm thing people like to talk about, I don’t think. It’s a tough, severe, scary and cruel monster. So is ‘capitalism.’ But being scared of them, like a kid who can’t swim is scared of a swimming pool, is lame. If you just fearlessly dive in, strangely enough you can swim all right!”

-Kyoko Okazki, in the afterword of Pink

With this thought in mind, Yumi, our protagonist of Kyoko Okazaki’s Pink, has never had trouble diving in. She doesn’t just swim “all right,” but navigates the tricky Tokyo currents with impeccable form and style.

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Kyousogiga and What We Find There

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“Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.”

-Lewis Carroll, from “Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There”

If you find yourself unable to process information, does it haunt you?

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Beyond the Boundary of Arrogance

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Something stinks about Kyoukai no Kanata, and I love it.

From the very first scene, and opening lines, Kyoukai no Kanata is everything that your delusional teenage self wrote down in your not-so-secret diary to combat your own isolation and awkwardness. It tells its story with the same gravity that you would have given it at that age, with the straightest of faces and the burning desire to impress. Akihito Kanbara is an immortal half-demon – in spite of the his claim that there is nothing special about himself – whose only companion is Mitsuki Nase, the beautiful childhood friend who is also the president of the Literary Club. Cue the incident that changes his life forever, which also involves a cute girl. Oh, and she’s special as well, because she fights demons.

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