地球星人 🌏 Book Club ・ Week 1

My reply, which turned out to be an off-topic about 魔法少女 genre in general

It’s funny when you bring Madoka Magica as the thing you know best within the genre, when it’s an example of the genre subversion :smiley:
But it’s the same for me :wink:
I even educated myself a little about 魔法少女 genre after reading another Murata’s work, 丸の内魔法少女ミラクリーナ, and when I say educated, I mostly mean I read the wikipedia article & some of articles in its references section :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:
As for the animal sidekick,

It seems like every magical girl anime series has a magical animal companion
source: 30 Day Anime Challenge- Day 15: Favorite animal sidekick/pet or summoning from any anime | Blerdy Otome

NonHumanSidekick
Most Magical Girls have one or more of these, who often overlap with Weasel Mascot, Mentor Mascot, and/or Ridiculously Cute Critter:
source: Non-Human Sidekick - TV Tropes

But when we’re on the common elements, what surprised me most is that fighting evil wasn’t there from the start:

Prior to that, magical girl shows post-Princess Knight downplayed the fighting and functioned more like sitcoms. Their magical powers resembled the antics of Steve Urkel in Family Matters – an excuse for crazy stuff to exacerbates the episode’s social conflict. While they were often still princesses, magical girls dealt with schoolyard problems more often than actual threats. They’d use their powers to go out with boys or live double lives as pop stars.
source: What Makes Magical Girls So Popular? - Anime News Network

And it seems it’s Sailor Moon that changed this:

Sailor Moon (1991), whose anime adaptation was broadcast from 1992 to 1997, revolutionized the magical girl genre by combining “transforming hero” elements from live-action tokusatsu hero shows like Super Sentai and Kamen Rider with feminine interests, such as romance and child-rearing. […] In addition, unlike previous magical girl series, Sailor Moon featured a team of magical girls as the main characters, with male characters supporting them in battle.
source: Magical girl - Wikipedia

I was also surprised that idea of using a compact to transform is so established and widespread and that it was introduced as early as 1969 (Himitsu no Akko-chan anime adaptation).

And I admit I didn’t really think too deeply about this bit until articles pointed this out to me:

A key attribute of the Sailor soldiers is the nature of their transformation. In their sailor collars and miniskirts, with their long hair, manicured nails, and smart accessories, they look singularly ill equipped to do battle. When male superheroes like Kamen (Masked) Rider and the Super Sentai teams morphed, the changes were clearly designed to make the heroes stronger. But the transformation of the Sailor girls functioned primarily to exaggerate their feminine good looks and sexuality. In a major paradigm shift, Sailor Moon represented power using standard attributes of youthful feminine beauty and sexuality, negating the traditional dichotomy between cuteness and strength.
source: Children of Sailor Moon: The Evolution of Magical Girls in Japanese Anime | Nippon.com

I’m by no means an expert on the topic, and maybe all of the above is a common knowledge, but it wasn’t for me :stuck_out_tongue:

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My experience with the genre is pretty much Madoka and a couple episodes of Sailor Moon, so your breakdown here probably more than doubled my knowledge :grin:. It will be interesting to read this again with a bit more 魔女少女 context. Also, I’m pretty interested now in reading 丸の内魔法少女ミラクリーナ.

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Ohhhh I’m so excited we’re finally reading this. After 御伽の部屋 this already reads and feels so much more like the Murata style I crave for. :sweat_smile:
Already off to an intriguing start, too. Also glad to see some fresh blood new faces, hope you stick around!

Took me way too long to realize they’re driving in a car and the 隣 is not someone from a different house next door. :joy:

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No idea what to expect from this story yet, but I’m intrigued! This is my first Murata book as well.

Not much to go on yet but probably that segment where Yuu said (paraphrasing) he thinks his mom would be better off if he went back to his planet, and that he’s been waiting to be taken away all this time.
That’s kind of sad man.
I wonder why the mom says the alien thing to him. Random joke? Is he actually adopted or something? (Under the assumption that he’s not an actual alien… :laughing:)

ポハピピンポボピア k̶i̶d̶d̶i̶n̶g̶
指切り :slightly_smiling_face:

Oh my god, he’s so cute!! :pleading_face:

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My first book club at this level! I did enjoy it quite a lot
I read about half of this weeks, then mentioned to my sensei and he suggested we read some together, and it was honestly super helpful. I’d highlighted words I didn’t know or a few pieces of grammar I didn’t grasp and he was able to explain much quicker than I could’ve looked it up. Also reading it aloud mean he picked me up on a few onyomi/kunyomi errors and some rendakus that I missed. I think I’ll do the second half of this passage the same way tomorrow.

I’ve not idea where this is going, but I was expecting the 魔法少女 stuff to be real, but from him and the discussion here I understand this to be a classic trope amongst anime girls.

My other dumb thought was when they said 山の中 and 宇宙に近いI was imagining a literal inside of a mountain that rose up to space - but then they mentioned 長野 and 千葉 and that grounded it for me a bit for now. When reading in Japanese I do struggle to distinguish metaphor and normal descriptions - but I’m just not used to reading novels…

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I have added a sheet with names in the vocab file because they only get furigana at their first occurrence. Please feel free to add more entries (persons and places).

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Thank you very much! I’m feeling good with 日常 and ヨコハマ買い出し紀行 at this point. When it comes to non-manga reading, I’m having some difficulty having enough stamina to go through. (Ogawa Mimei’s stories were a bit frustrating because of that.) However, I found the remaining 8 pages easier. I’m hoping to keep up reading this book until the end, that would be a big milestone for me. :slight_smile:

I got the paperback version. :sweat_smile:

This was my favorite new word too, especially because I understood the meaning even though seeing it for the first time. :slight_smile:

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I’m another Murata newbie (@jhol did a good job promoting this book club, I think) and I’m going in completely blind. I just finished this week’s part and it was a very enjoyable read!

Murata indeed has a very straightforward writing style (in this book so far) so I only have vocabulary to worry about and that’s not such a big deal with the e-book version.

Like @jhol mentioned, she paints a vivid picture with few words and I think that that is what makes it so enjoyable for me.

It might have been the opening sentence :smiley:. I just couldn’t figure out what she meant with 夜の欠片 (it became clear later) and I couldn’t figure out if 秋級 was a normal noun or a proper noun because I couldn’t find it in a dictionary and also not on Google Maps. In the end I just settled on it being either a fictional mountain or a mountain that is so local that it isn’t listed on Google. (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.)

I’ll admit that I also had to do an image search to figure out what a 変身コンパクト is. Turns out we have some lying around the house (ガシャポン souvenirs) :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

And I had some trouble with the すいこ. At first I thought that すいこっていって was some kind of conjugation of a すいこる verb or something, but when they started discussing it, I realised that he was just saying that it’s called すいこ.

Again, I couldn’t find any dictionary entries and very little Google Image results. Maybe this is a local name for a plant that has a different common name…? It’s probably sorrel or some other type of dock (スイバ) because those are also included in the Google results and they are edible and sour (called ‘(veld)zuring’ in Dutch which has ‘sour’ in the name).

変身コンパクト :smiley:

Definitely the opening with the 夜の欠片 and 真っ黒な闇. An immediate sense of mystery and foreboding.

I also liked the kids’ conversation: discussing these outlandish things as if they are just an everyday reality is very kid-like.

She comes across to me as a strong-willed character, self-assured and like she knows how to get what she wants.

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I’m psyched you’re able to join! I know you also have かがみ on your plate so my fingers were crossed.

I think you’re spot on. From the Wikipedia article on スイバ

このほかにも地方によって、茎をポンと折って食べると酸っぱいことから スカンポや スカンボ 、 スイッパ、スイコ、ショッパグサ、ネコノショッカラ、スイスイグサなど、さまざまな別名でも呼ばれることもあり、その方言名の数は200を越えるといわれている。

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Oh, thank you, I was also wondering about the fact that I couldn’t find スイコ in a dictionary.
I was going to check the English translation, but then again, I’m not 100% trusting Takemori anyway, so I’m glad you found a Japanese source. :blush:
I thought it might be “szczaw” in Polish and thanks to your wikipedia link, I was able to confirm that I was right. :stuck_out_tongue:

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After having to drop 牛乳 due to difficulty/time commitment, this first week felt like a breeze. Decent amount of lookups, but the writing felt very clear - straightforward yet vivid. Definitely reminiscent of コンビニ人間 in terms of writing style. My only question was regarding すいこ, so appreciate the detective work from others! Excited to get back into Murata, will do my best to keep up.

I enjoyed the sweetness of the first week - having read some reviews I know that it’s going to get darker later, but for now it’s a nice quiet start.

As a side note, as an avid consumer if Sailor Moon as a kid (seriously, I was obsessed with the show) definitely can relate with pretending to be a magical girl. Oh, and motion sickness. Can also relate to that, ha.

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For the kanji and vocab lookup, have you tried this dictionary: jrfonseca/jmdict-kindle: Japanese - English dictionary for Kindle based on the JMdict / EDICT database (github.com)

For me it works perfectly.

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Finished this week’s reading much later than I intended to. Reading everyone’s comments was quite enlightening: glad to finally know what すいこ means. :laughing: I’m also curious about the story 由宇’s mother told him. The likelihood is that it isn’t true (in which case, what a messed up thing to say to a child), but one never really knows. Looking forward to finding out. :smiley:

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This whole business with ピュート gives me massive コイビト vibes :joy: From how serious she is about saving the world, I’m curious to see if this book will actually go in a more sci-fi direction or if it all turns out to be in Natsuki’s head after all. After struggling a bit with the language in 授乳, particularly in the first and last story, this one is refreshingly easy to read so far, which is a big relief :sweat_smile:

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