Some of my favorite stories involve elements of what made classic fables so enthralling to me. Some aspects are easy to see, like the fantasy setting, but I also enjoy the darker world that’s mixed with a child-like innocence which tinges each story, allowing us to take in the horror aspects a little easier. Fairies and other creatures of myth are no joke, and the original stories attest to how devious they can be. However, we always see their pranks rather than their murderous rampages when we read those stories of old. Fables historically were made to teach a lesson and help to educate children on the dangers of life. So the palatability of a darker world that we only catch a glimpse of has always intrigued me.
Shadow House is very much a story like this. The story follows Emilyko, a “living doll” in a very dark and mysterious mansion, who serves Kate, a member of the Shadow Family, who owns the property. Emilyko spends most of her time taking care of Kate but also ponders on the behavior of the Shadows. The Shadows are creatures seemingly made up of some dark material that creates soot, as everything they touch is dirtied with it, along with their negative emotions causing them to release a black smoke that can cover the room in the same material. Added to this is the odd behavior that they have some physical control over the soot they produce and leave behind.
This manga is this perfect little cap off to the day for me. Mado Kara Madoka-chan is a cute little series about a office worker who walks the same path to work every day outside of a woman’s house, who loves to play games and roleplay with him as he passes by. Every time that our protagonist comes by, Madoka-chan begins a different kind of game with him to keep both of their lives fun, dramatically changing the layout and look of her home.
Each chapter is a different strange experience with the eccentric Madoka-chan as she performs something within her four walls either for the salaryman passing by, or seemingly to entertain herself. However, her eccentric nature and the dramatic transformations of her place, sometimes in a matter of minutes, makes me feel as if there’s a hint of Magical Realism in this series. Like, there are some chapters where she closes her shutters and not five seconds later, they slam back open to reveal a restaurant. It’s insane but also always fun, especially because as magical as she may seem, Madoka-chan doesn’t always get everything right and so interactions between the two characters can become dynamic and sometimes downright hilarious. Continue reading
If you have watched Episode 10 of the Log Time Podcast, or have any semblance of familiarity with the series Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita (also referred to as Jintai) you’re more than likely familiar with the Fairies, the pint-sized figures of great power and importance within Jintai. Considered in some regards to be mythological, the Fairies are very real, very present, and admittedly, very goofy forces of nature. As humanity slowly plods on towards its seemingly inevitable demise, the Fairies have been considered by some, namely Watashi and her Grandfather, to be the “new humanity.” They are humanoid, capable of the creation and utilization of advanced tools, even magic, and are generally an amiable species. It seems that for these reasons and others that the Fairies have been conceptually considered to be the theoretical successors of mankind on earth. Considering them humankind’s successors brings up other questions, namely that of the reason behind mankind’s stepping down, so to speak. We already get a basic sense of this from the title, roughly “Humanity Has Declined.” We understand that humankind is on its way out, as Watashi states, but we are unsure of the specifics of how this decline came about. Watashi alludes towards a decline through frivolity and decadence – through waste and overconsumption. We have causes, but not any specific instances of what brought about the downfall, and as a result, we are left to consider several factors – perhaps the largest of which is “why the Fairies?” Why are they being passed the torch? There’s as many possibilities as there are people with opinions out there (and that’s a bunch), but I’ve picked out three that came to mind and seemed like interesting points to consider. This is not to say that these are the “most valid” or best possibilities, of course. This is more just a collection of thoughts spawning from my question “Why?”