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 [SM Manga Club In-Depth Discussion] Casablanca Memories!

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PostSubject: [SM Manga Club In-Depth Discussion] Casablanca Memories!   14th February 2017, 12:46 pm




 What this is 
Hello and welcome to our new In-Depth Discussions! Sponsored by the Sailor Moon Manga Club, they are open to any GC member who wishes to go more in depth with acts of the manga. Each of our threads will focus on one act of the manga. 

  How this works 
A list of questions below will be provided for a starting point for your discussion. You don't need to use them, but they are there if you find yourself struggling. Take what question you like. 

  The act we are focusing on this time is 
Casablanca Memories! Since February is the month of love, Brit and I figured why not make a theme ;-) You can read Casablanca Memories right here on missdream.org if you would like an online copy. 

Discussion Questions

Code:
[b]1. Were you excited for this manga when it was first announced/when picked it up? Why? (In Sailor Moon's case, perhaps excited when it was rereleased in the US?)[/b]

[b]2. Do you find the characters convincing? Are they believable? Are they fully developed as complex human beings—or were they one-dimensional? [/b]

[b]3. Did you enjoy reading this act or volume? Why, or why not?[/b]

[b]4. What scenes and/or dialogue strike you as insightful, even profound? Perhaps a bit of dialog that's funny or poignant or that encapsulates a character? Maybe there's a particular comment that states the manga's thematic concerns?[/b]

[b]5. Depending on the act/volume, how do you feel about the main character(s)? Were they flawed, or were, perhaps, too perfect? [/b]

[b]6. Again, depending on the act/volume, how about the villain(s)? Pick one from this act/volume and talk about him/her for a bit. Was he/she properly threatening? Was he/she clichéd? Was he/she an interesting villain?[/b]

[b]7. What motivates different characters’ actions? Do you think those actions are justified or ethical?[/b]

[b]8. Do any characters grow or change during the course of the act/volume/series? If so, in what way?[/b]

[b]9. Let's talk artwork. Pick our your favorite panels and least favorite panels and share them. What do you like or not like about them?[/b]

[b]10. We all know the main themes in Sailor Moon are friendship, love and destiny. Are there other themes you've picked up on? What about for this act/volume that you've read?[/b]

[b]11. Why might Naoko Takeuchi have chosen to tell the story the way she did?[/b]

[b]12. If you could change anything, what would it be?[/b]

[b]13. If you could ask Naoko a question, what would you ask?[/b]

[b]14. Would you recommend this manga? Why, and to whom?[/b]

[b]15. Has the story so far lived up to your expectations?[/b]
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PostSubject: Re: [SM Manga Club In-Depth Discussion] Casablanca Memories!   15th February 2017, 6:09 am

A bit of an aside...
Even though I've read the manga so many times, I *still* do a double take when I see Rei's grandfather and he's not that stocky little bald man from the anime XD. First impressions are powerful lol.

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PostSubject: Re: [SM Manga Club In-Depth Discussion] Casablanca Memories!   16th February 2017, 11:04 am

Okay so first of all I want to mention something I find really endearing about this story and that's the fact that it came about due to Naoko being close enough with the original voice actresses that they gave her inspiration for stories like this! I also find it a small point of evidence against those in the fandom that claim Naoko hates the original anime (uh no she didn't. she just wasn't always happy with some of the story changes but you hear those gripes all the time from authors who see their stories adapted). I think also what's interesting is that it's quite possible that the original voice actresses really helped Naoko shape the personalities of the characters they were portraying. A lot of people think that the manga is what brought about a lot of the anime but I think at times, it was the other way around where aspects of the anime (like being able to be with the VA's) helped inspire aspects of the manga.

Anyway....I think I'm gunna grab a few of the questions and answer those! I haven't read this since we read for the club last year so I'm kinda skimming over the story and stuff.


Do you find the characters convincing? Are they believable? Are they fully developed as complex human beings—or were they one-dimensional?

Half the reason I like the short stories is because often in the manga, due to its fast pace, the characters can be very one-dimensional with Rei being the cool, spiritual beauty most of the time. This short story really helps us to see another side of manga!Rei and it helps to explain some of her coldness she displays in the beginning of the series. It helps her to seem less of a stereotype and more of a rounded, convincing character.

Did you enjoy reading this act or volume? Why, or why not?

Oh yes definitely! I eat up getting to know the characters in Sailor Moon more at every chance I get and this short story really serves that purpose well. Rei isn't really my most favorite character, at least in the manga because I find she's pretty flat, but I adore this story about her. Also Rei and Mako bonding!! Very Happy



Annnnd my lunch break is over and I still have so much more I wanted to try and discuss with teh questions. xD Hopefully I can come back to it, though I'm looking forward to seeing what others write too!




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PostSubject: Re: [SM Manga Club In-Depth Discussion] Casablanca Memories!   27th February 2017, 12:38 pm

Woops it's almost the end of the month! Time to post >.<.

@Brit-chan wrote:
A lot of people think that the manga is what brought about a lot of the anime but I think at times, it was the other way around where aspects of the anime (like being able to be with the VA's) helped inspire aspects of the manga.
This is why I need a timeline of the manga and anime production/release dates lol! I keep running into mentions on GC by other members of their being worked on simultaneously and I’m just finding it hard to keep in my head without the visual...

@Brit-chan wrote:
Also Rei and Mako bonding!! Very Happy
YAS! I always think their friendship is one of the most underappreciated connections in Sailor Moon. I imagine the two of them would have so much about life to share appreciation for, especially food! (Rei has expensive taste, after all…) Ugh, now I want to go read some fanfics XD.

Speaking of those two, I love that Rei buys Makoto flowers in this story basically ‘just because’. Rei, please be my friend. I feel like this is a great example of some of the little things in this Act that take Rei’s character from simply an aloof girl to one that is mature-for-her-age, which encompasses a whole host of characteristics. Even Makoto notices how comfortable Rei is inside the swanky restaurant. It would appear that her father taking her there doesn't affect her liking/disliking it - again, a mature sensibility - as she picks that place for her and Makoto to go in and chat. Usagi would have picked the nearest ice cream parlour lol.

Btw, the official Kodansha translation is a lot different than Miss Dream's version in these key panels:

Miss Dream version:
 
Kodansha version:
 

Both say something important about Rei’s attitude towards love but in a different way. (Miss Dream's seems to allude to social realities that are hard to translate, perhaps?) I wish I had the old Tokyopop version to compare too! Sadly, my Gen 1 tankouban collection is a mix of English and Chinese which I don't speak a word of, with that volume being in Chinese ^^;.

Also, both translations of this Act make it pretty clear that Zoisite is using her *memories* as a distraction. So again, we are seeing a really mature girl in Rei as she even makes a move on an older man, Kaidou.

I'll choose a question to answer as well...
10. We all know the main themes in Sailor Moon are friendship, love and destiny. Are there other themes you've picked up on? What about for this act/volume that you've read?
I would say a big theme in this short story is "duty": both Rei’s and Kaidou’s duty to Mr. Hino, and Rei’s duty to the Sailor team (and their cause). It's a bit different than the main theme of “destiny”, though they are intertwined. Although not shown in this Act much, her duty to her Grandfather's shrine is the other large part of her life. Interestingly, I still feel like her duty/destiny with the Senshi is a path that sets her free instead of tying her down, even though it requires so much sacrifice (sometimes of her life).

Oh and a random thought I had was no wonder the anime made Zoisite so effeminate… He really does seem to cross-dress in the manga quite a bit XD. (Volume 1 and now this too!)

One last thing: the PDF download from Miss Dream is missing a few pages just FYI for anyone using that version...

See y'all next month

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PostSubject: Re: [SM Manga Club In-Depth Discussion] Casablanca Memories!   27th February 2017, 3:26 pm

I found the Mixx translation! It's actually closer to Kodansha's than Miss Dream's. I do have the raw of Casablanca Memory, I could maybe ask a friend to see how she translates it.


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PostSubject: Re: [SM Manga Club In-Depth Discussion] Casablanca Memories!   27th February 2017, 4:18 pm

I CANNOT BELIEVE I ALMOST FORGOT THIS AAA

1. Were you excited for this manga when it was first announced/when picked it up? Why? (In Sailor Moon's case, perhaps excited when it was rereleased in the US?)
I had no idea that it was a short story that existed in the same volume as Kaguya's dream, so I didn't know to be surprised for it. As for the re-release, I found myself more excited about Chibiusa's Picture Dairies and the Exam Battles then Casablanca memories. Perhaps because I always considered it a part of the first arc and not a stand-alone story.
2. Do you find the characters convincing? Are they believable? Are they fully developed as complex human beings—or were they one-dimensional?
Rei was convincing as heck during this chapter-moreso then any other chapter she'd been in; at least during the first story arc where the chapter takes place in. It was nice to see another character take center stage for once, though I wish her grandfather could have been fleshed out a bit more. The story could have progressed without him, seeing as he was there simply for exposition.
3. Did you enjoy reading this act or volume? Why, or why not?
While this story was a fun read, the fact that it wasn't included with the first arc always bugged me to no end-especially with the way it was presented in the initial first edition.One second, your reading in cronolgical order, with the Kaguya story taking place after the end of the Death Busters arc, and suddenly you're thrown back to the first arc? I could never really get over that initial placement, and It did impact my enjoyment of reading it quite a bit.
4. What scenes and/or dialogue strike you as insightful, even profound? Perhaps a bit of dialog that's funny or poignant or that encapsulates a character? Maybe there's a particular comment that states the manga's thematic concerns?
I absolutely love the way the music box(es) were designed, and the idea of the melody "mimicking rain" was incredible! The scene that struck me as amazing was when the enemy appeared at the piano with a gaint copy of the music box behind them. It's so pretty!
5. Depending on the act/volume, how do you feel about the main character(s)? Were they flawed, or were, perhaps, too perfect?
Rei was written incredibly well rounded, and I can't complain. The only thing that always confused me is the part of the illusion when her father's driver asked her if she loved him. Was that an actual memory of her confessing her love to him, or was the illusion acting upon what it thought she would have liked to do as a form of manipulative wish-fulfillment?
6. Again, depending on the act/volume, how about the villain(s)? Pick one from this act/volume and talk about him/her for a bit. Was he/she properly threatening? Was he/she clichéd? Was he/she an interesting villain?
The villain was surprisingly not as cliched as you'd expect, considering the arc this story takes place in. The entire plan behind the music box, a music box that would collect the energies of sentimental and possibly sad memories of an individuals past until there was nothing left? Dang! I've never seen a music box used quite like that before, or ever again.
7. What motivates different characters’ actions? Do you think those actions are justified or ethical?
Rei's nostalgia and longing over the past prevents her from picking up on the evil energy as quickly as she'd done in previous chapters. It was a nice touch, and totally understandable. As for when she decided to destroy the music box, who wouldn't want to after being shown a memory/altered memory in an attempt to manipulate her? Justified 100%.
8. Do any characters grow or change during the course of the act/volume/series? If so, in what way?
Rei grew in the way that she was comfortable talking about her past with the others, rather then keeping to herself about them. She also seemed to be able to overcome some of the painful aspects by knowing of her role as a senshi should be her main focus; though that in of itself is a bit sad. I never liked the idea of a protagonist throwing absolutely everything away just for the sake of their mission; especially if they're comfortable doing it.
9. Let's talk artwork. Pick our your favorite panels and least favorite panels and share them. What do you like or not like about them?
My favorite panels happen on page 28 of the story (according to the MissDream scan, anyway.) I love how the giant rain tree was drawn in perspective to the teeny piano in front of it, with zoicite in disguise playing wistfully away! Just everything about it is really pretty!
10. We all know the main themes in Sailor Moon are friendship, love and destiny. Are there other themes you've picked up on? What about for this act/volume that you've read?
This one dealt with painful memories, wishing of what could have been and nostalgia-with a bit of bittersweet romance on the side. With how Rei decided to deny having love anyone by the end of the chapter, you could almost call it a bit tragic.
11. Why might Naoko Takeuchi have chosen to tell the story the way she did?
I know there were some footnotes in the old tokyopop/mixx editions saying she was inspired with the music box idea and design by a real music box she saw somewhere, and I can understand how she wanted a character who's past, up until that point, was fairly unknown to be brought up through an enemy trying to take advantage of it. What I don't understand is why she didn't include it within the original arc it took place in. Was it because she didn't have time? Did she not think of the idea until later? If so, then it would make more sense. I really want that real life music box
12. If you could change anything, what would it be?
I'd like it to be a bit longer, actually. It provided so much additional backstory and character development on Rei's part, I didn't like how quickly it ended-even though the ending was fitting in it's own right.
13. If you could ask Naoko a question, what would you ask?
Why didn't you include this chapter during the dark moon arc? Why was it written as more of a side-story? I think it would have fit perfectly as a chapter before they found Venus!
14. Would you recommend this manga? Why, and to whom?
I'd recommend this story to anyone who enjoys the manga; especially those who feel like Sailor Mars as a character was put on the back-burner when it came to development and focus in the story. They'd love it!
15. Has the story so far lived up to your expectations?
I didn't initially have any expectations upon reading it,so there weren't really any to live up to, to be honest. I guess the one expectation that it failed on when I first learned of it was that I expected it to somewhat continue with the timeline flow, not take us back to the very first arc.

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