- Tasakeru Book III: Soulsnatcher, Chapter 2: COMPLETE!
- Tasakeru Patreon: 2 Patrons (Reward Tiers Updated!)
- Book II Appendix: 0.5 pages done
- Shattered Skies Chapter 24: 4 pages done
Well, this was an improvement. I hesitate to say that things are looking up, but there's no doubt they're looking better. As you can see up there, I grabbed my second Patron, whose generous pledge has put me within striking distance of my first goal! That inspired me to get Chapter 2 of Soulsnatcher finished, and I'm particularly proud of the changes this one's gone through as of the relaunch.
As you might also notice: I've made some adjustments to my Patreon's reward tiers. The first tier now starts at $20 per chapter, which gets you acknowledgement in the future print editions of the Tasakeru books. I've also added the acknowledgement to the second tier, along with the free item of merch, for a $40 pledge. The third tier is now $80 for an acknowledgement, two merch items (with autographs and personal messages by request), and a private Q&A session with me in the format of your choice.
Of course, you don't have to pledge $20 if you don't want to... the minimum is $1 per chapter, and I'm sincerely grateful for any pledges at all, frankly. Since I can't offer the kinds of incentives other Patreons do, I have to sell this thing on the merits of the work itself... it's always nice to see somebody confirming that it does have merit.
So. KiraKira Precure A La Mode started yesterday. As I said in my status update and my Tumblr post on Sunday night: yes, it's better than Mahou Tsukai, thank God, but at this early stage it's also making some interesting departures from the standard formula... departures for the better, it looks like. Frankly, any improvements over MTPC are welcome. I'm so, so glad that Ichika/Cure Whip isn't a personality-less cardboard cutout like Mirai/Cure Miracle, and that the episode's fight scene was not only decently animated but clever, with some unexpected moves and neat camera angles that I wasn't expecting. I also appreciated the return of two of my favorite Precure franchise running gags: accidentally jumping a thousand feet high when making the first dodge in Cure form, and the universe hitting the pink Cure in the face with random objects. Slapstick may not be the highest form of comedy, but it's always encouraging to see it utilized well, and those two gags are so familiar to long-time fans like me that they were almost like an apology for the past year, like Toei was saying "We get it, we're sorry, things will be better now."
Yes, the dessert theming is pretty silly, but it manages to be silly in a charming way, rather than MTPC's bland, generic cuteness. Believe it or not, the series with the sweets motif looks to be less sugary than its predecessor, if you'll pardon the pun. Just in the first episode, there's already been a surprisingly melancholy turn from Ichika, when she learns her world-traveling doctor mother won't be able to make it home to share the shortcake she worked so hard on... now that feels real and compelling in a way that MTPC's "all cute, all the time" aesthetic never did.
Look, I'm not expecting great art here. Precure, at its heart, is Power Rangers for girls: it's a vehicle to sell toys and merch first and foremost, with everything else secondary. Despite that, though, the Precure franchise has managed to have moments of surprising depth, even beauty. The best of them have had fantastic character development in addition to the obligatory sparkly transformations, dramatic speeches and poses, and monster-pummeling fight scenes. I'll take Madoka Magica (and, I'd argue, Cardcaptor Sakura, and most of most versions of Sailor Moon, with some well-known caveats) as the shining examples of what the genre can be... for Precure, I'll settle for harmless fluff as long as it's entertaining harmless fluff. Sometimes, as with Heartcatch and Go! Princess, it's far more than that. It's too early to tell whether KKPCALM (God, that acronym) will be one of the greats or just a fun way to spend each week, but I have my hopes up.
And that's about it. I watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens again, with my mom this time, and... what else is there to say, really? It's still a fantastic film, and for me it held up just as well the third time as it did the first two. I didn't find out until about fifteen minutes in that Mom has never seen the original trilogy, though... so that's one of my projects for the coming weeks.