February 18, 2016

Catching up

Maetenloch has discovered Pixel Maritan.

It's possible he doesn't know the whole story behind it. Back at the beginning of time, there was a series of graphic novels about a character named Moetan. She was a magical girl, and had a crush on a high school boy. So she'd transform to her magical form and visit him, to help him study English.

That was the point of it all; was to help the readers to study English.

Well, Pixel Maritan was a satire of that series. To the extent that it had any goal besides being riotously funny, the goal was to teach the readers how to cuss like a Marine.

The basic story was that Maritan was a princess of the magical kingdom of Parris Island, where she worked as a Marine drill instructor. There were three other main characters: Army-tan was a recruit soldier under Maritan's tender care. J-tan represented the Japanese self defense force. And Navy-tan was an officer, always seen wearing dress whites and daintily drinking a cup of tea.

"-tan" is an ultra-cutesy version of -chan, and given Maritan's character its use is part of the satire because Maritan is not cute.

There were three volumes, and all of them had the same format. At any point, the left hand page was a comic, entirely in Japanese except the last word balloon which was in English. The right page, then, was a gloss explaining that last word balloon, which was invariably profane or obscene, with careful attention to the meaning and proper use of words like "fuck", "cocksucker" and so on.

In the first volume all the English lines were from the movie Full Metal Jacket, mostly from the gun sergeant. The other two books were a bit more varied but the basic format was the same in all of them.

My understanding is that it was a wild success. There was a drama CD released, and the voice actress who did Maritan visited the American base on Okinawa and was photographed there with American Marines, who seemed to really enjoy it all.

All in all, quite a run for what really has to be thought of as a one-joke pony.

UPDATE: I haven't read the books, and I really wonder how you fill three volumes out. After you've done Carlin's "six words", then what do you do? English isn't really a very rich language for cursing.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 09:25 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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1 Having been both a farmer and a soldier, there are combinations of English profanity that would make one blink.

Rather a couple of rather obscene phrases and what-not in spoiler tags.  (Stephen, I shall fully understand your deleting any and all that you find beyond the pale.  Especially since I can invoke the "yuk" factor without meaning to do so.)

Posted by: Mark A. Flacy at February 19, 2016 06:09 PM (ATlQg)

2 I used to have copies of these. There are a lot of quotes from Full Metal Jacket. Lot of colloquialisms too.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at February 20, 2016 12:50 PM (v29Tn)

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