BOOK REVIEW: ‘Pixiegate Madoka’ by Michael Sean LeSeur
When I purchased Pixiegate Madoka, I was excited by the prospect of a Bizarro title with an anime twist. Being an anime and manga fan of more than 15 years, I was certain that there would be plenty of easter eggs for me to pick up, and the book’s cover image was alluring in design.
What I got, however, was an experience I was less than pleased with—primarily out of personal taste, secondarily because of what I would consider technical issues.
Pixiegate Madoka is the story of Arizona middle-schooler Julian “Julie” Argento who, by the laws of far more anime than I’d like to admit, ends up at the wrong Japanese transfer school due to clumsiness drawn of social awkwardness and girls. Julie ends up at a Magical Girl school, which I, initially, had high hopes for. Those hopes were dashed when I was led into a violent scene with beheaded mothers, needs borne of… honestly, I’m not clear on what… and a somehow cliché and yet totally out there heroine.
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From there, Pixiegate only becomes progressively more violent and sexual in nature. I’ll give LeSueur props for covering just about every extreme fetish out there, and he didn’t forget the tentacles, but it was all just too much. Neither the violence or sexual nature of the settings—literally, since everything from furniture to vehicles are made of (primarily male) slave—seem to add anything to the plot of the story.
To make matters worse, for me at least, the book is set in a world that is not well described. We know that the entire world is made of floating chunks of land, and while I can, presumably, see the metaphor the author intended, it, again, adds nothing to the story. I was unable to ever truly get a strong grasp of the world as a whole in my head, though some singular areas stood out sharply in my mind.
Technically, Pixiegate had a few editing errors—most noticeably words missing in a handful of sentences—and a few pacing issues within paragraphs. Had I been enjoying the book, I likely wouldn’t have noticed the latter, but the latter was impossible to miss.
When it comes down to it, Pixiegate just wasn’t my cup of tea, though I sincerely wish it had been. With all of the references to anime and Japanese culture, I could have loved the book if it weren’t for its excessively crass and violent nature. I’d place this title firmly in the extreme side of the Bizarro genre, just a little too far over the line for me.
However, if you would enjoy a crossover of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo and FLCL directed by Quentin Tarantino, I’d strongly recommend Michael Sean LeSueur’s novella. It’s right up your alley.