But then, no one ever said life was fair. Ask a rich man whether life is a happy one and you'll often get a different answer than from someone just barely able to survive. Ask someone in love whether love exists and no doubt it'll be a different answer than from those without. In the end, I guess it's all based on perspective and experience. A man starving may believe that banquets and abundance exist because he's seen it on tv or in magazines or head of it from others, but I wonder if he ever questions whether it really does exist. Can we really believe in something which we've never felt or never held or never touched? Maybe in the end it all comes down to faith and illusion.
I said in my last entry that I would make an entry about Sailor Nothing and I'm certainly depressed enough to give that a whirl. God knows it can't be any more of a downer than how I'm feeling at the moment.
Sailor Nothing is a web-story, which is unique in my experience on many levels. The first and foremost is the format in which it's presented. The author mixes and matches the vehicle for telling the story from chapter to chapter. Some of it is written like a normal narriative with a single voice, while other parts are broken down into pieces with each character providing a different perspective. There's even one part where the story is presented graphically like an old-school RPG. It was the first time I had run across anything so innovative and that used some of the vast options available to a web-story as compared to a classic book format. Second, Sailor Nothing was my first exposure to the idea of deconstructing the whole Magical Girl trope. It might not be surprising given how much I've loved the fantasy genre but I had never given much thought to the real personal downsides of having magic. Well, not much beyond the fact that the government would probably be on your @$$ as soon as they found out anyway. I'd never really pondered the psychological strain and how devastating it could be. Anyway, let me briefly describe the story.
Shoutan Himei is the 16 year old protagonist of the story and she is very tired. It's not hard to see why when you realize that she's been battling monsters ever since she was transformed into Sailor Salvation and told to go out and save the world. Despite what many tv shows might tell you, it's apparently not all roses and sunshine. These battles aren't clean or bloodless and the victims are very real. That strain ends up cracking her if not breaking her outright (that comes later), and because she no longer has that magical girl pizazz, her 'boss' revokes his support, hoping that despair will simply drive her to suicide and clean up the mess for him. She redubs herself Sailor Nothing and finds that even though she's been 'fired', the monsters still seek her out and real people still suffer if she abdicates her responsibility to fight them.
The story spans eleven chapters and gets increasingly grim. I don't want to ruin it for any of you who haven't read it yet and may want to so I won't go into details but for most of the story Himei spins around a black hole of despair and suicide. She's constantly telling you how tired she is, and if you've ever spent a good period of time depressed, it's easy to relate. It's like trying to live your life with a lead blanket weighing down upon you, an emotional weight that feels very physical.
I've never been a fan of fanfics in the past, mostly because I'm too critical, but I really enjoyed Sailor Nothing all around. The story really made me think and I spent days afterward brooding about it. It's not a surprise that Mai-Hime would remind me so starkly of it since the ideas are very similar though Sailor Nothing is the darker I would say. Anyway, give it a look if you feel like it. I wouldn't mind talking shop with anyone who ends up reading it. Just don't blame me if you never look at Sailor Moon the same way again.