BHS Blogress Report: 2016, Week 48

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Kaylee: "So how come you don't care where you're going?"
Book: "'Cause how you get there's the worthier part."
- Kaylee Frye and Shepherd Book, Firefly, "Serenity, Part 1"

This weekend, we bid farewell to Ron Glass, remembered by all of us Browncoats as Shepherd Derrial Book in Firefly and Serenity. Mr. Glass had a decades-long career in television, including a starring role in Barney Miller, but it's as Shepherd Book that he became a legend. Tributes have come in from Joss Whedon, his fellow cast members, and fans all over the world, and now it's my turn.

This hit me, hard. I was late getting on board with Firefly, but once I did, it became one of my favorite series ever. I felt the pain that every fan feels when I learned how such a brilliant series was cut down so quickly by idiots that didn't understand it, and I've told countless people about the miracle that was Serenity, the movie that shouldn't have happened. I love Firefly more than my words can express, and Book was a key part of what made it so different: in keeping with the space Western theme, he was the man of faith in a lawless frontier, a classic archetype given a new twist. There were the numerous hints and signs that he hadn't always been a Shepherd, of course, with a later graphic novel confirming his checkered past, but that's mostly background material. In the series and the movie, Book was a counterbalance to Captain Mal's cynicism and lost religion, a decent man trying to apply the lessons of the faith that saved him to the family he found himself with. He had some of the greatest moments of the series' brief life: the "special hell" line in "Our Miss Reynolds", his admitting to Zoe in "War Stories" that while the Bible had some specific things to say against killing people, it was "somewhat fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps", accidentally terrifying River by unleashing his hair in "Jaynestown", his heartbreaking death scene in Serenity, and his first meeting with Kaylee in the pilot, which I've quoted above. I can't choose a favorite.

Of course, as I'm preacher's kid, Book has always reminded me of my father. My pop is a constant reminder of the good things about faith and religion, and how they can transform people for the better. It would have been easy to show Book as a stereotype, a cheap metaphor, or a way to spout pseudo-profound lines to the audience, but no. Book was flawed and layered, as all good characters are. He struggled with his faith, just as I know my dad has struggled with his... but in the end, he always refused to let any ugliness he witnessed change him for the worse. Just like my pop.

Mr. Glass was a practicing Buddhist. As such, I feel it's appropriate to try to focus not on the sadness of his passing, but the new journey he's been sent on. That's part of why I quoted that particular scene up above in tribute; I think he would have approved. Go well, sir. Thanks for sailing with us for a while.

Anyway. Other stuff this week:

As I expected, the new Cardcaptor Sakura anime will be an adaptation of the Clear Card Arc! All of the main cast from the first anime are returning to their roles, and it will be done by the same director and studio as well. At this point, there's no information on whether it will follow the anime continuity or stick with the manga, but I suppose we'll find that out later. The only bad thing is that it's not premiering until January of 2018... it's gonna be a long, long year.

A bit of info about the third Nanoha movie has trickled out: two characters introduced in the PSP Nanoha games are going to be in Nanoha: Reflection, specifically a pair of time-traveling cyborgs, which could mean interesting things for the plot. A better reason to get excited over this news is that if they're using characters from the games, we might actually get to see the Materials, the much-beloved evil versions of Nanoha, Fate, and Hayate, in animated form at last! Now, that's just conjecture at this point, but if the Materials are appearing... hoo boy, is this one going to be worth the lengthy wait.

In Tasakeru news: I got word that the US copyright office has received the manuscript, so again, all that's left to do is wait. I'm trying to finish the last chapter of the revised Book II in December, so I can start on Book III: Soulsnatcher in the new year.

I've also made a ton of progress on the magical girl photo project. Adding the effects is coming along more smoothly than I could have imagined, thanks to a really excellent Photoshop tutorial I found online. The guy who made it is getting a special thanks in the description of the finished picture, that's for sure. I estimate that the project is now about 35% to 40% done, so I'm still on track to finish by the end of the year.

VDrake is making tentative plans (fingers crossed) to come down and visit after Christmas! Frankly, I can't think of many better ways to close out the year... we really, really need an uplift after everything that's happened.

That's it for this week. Keep flying, everyone.

- BHS

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