Looking up a visual reference about poor handwriting on TV Tropes has led me to archive binging a webcomic called Sleepless Domain. Which is how TV Tropes works. I end up reading new series of books by clicking on random media and then I see something I want to follow up on.
It’s been a while since I’ve tried a new webcomic though. If Sleepless Domain reliably updates, I do intend to add it to my regulars. I’m halfway through the archive and still having fun.
Sleepless Domain is a relatively gentle deconstruction of the Magic Girl genre. While it clearly has the potential to get dark and serious, Rick Veitch’s Brat Pack is my benchmark for dark and edgy deconstructions so I’m holding to calling this gentle.
Okay, spoiler time
Sleepless Domain takes place in a nameless city that is protected from a seemingly endless nightmarish monsters by some kind of force field and magic girls. The city is so isolated that it may be the last human stronghold in the world and yet it resembles a modern city. (I actually wonder if the pre-monster world was incredibly advanced and this represents a setting of scarcity)
And when I say magic girls, I mean straight up Sailor Moon style magic girls. Well, to the best of my knowledge since all I know about Sailor Moon comes from pop culture osmos. Teenage girls turn into super powered versions of themselves, complete with costumes. They are even called magic girls in the story.
Even more spoilers
Okay, after we get introduced to a team of magic girls, most of them get killed in the second chapter. The apparent protagonist loses her powers saving the last member of the team, water-powered Undine.
Basically, as far as my pool of references is concerned, it was like Applejack, Rarity, Pinky Pie and Rainbow Dash got killed, Twilight Sparkle lost all her powers and Fluttershy is the only one left to figure out what to do next.
Wait? Does that mean My Little Pony:Friendship is Magic Girl show? If that’s the case, I know a lot more about the magic girl genre than I thought.
On the one hand, Sleepless Domain makes it very clear that the magic girls are child soldiers. The setting does seem to justify it because powers go away when you reach adulthood so the city needs middle schoolers to fight the monsters. But they are still child soldiers and they clearly do die.
On the other hand, Undine really is like Fluttershy. Despite being extremely self-depreciating (even before the survivor guilt), she is also incredibly sweet and always wants to help people. There is definitely a hopeful vibe running through the story. Of course, this will make the inevitable bad stuff more painful.
There are a lot of questions clearly ahead. How do the magic girls get created? What is the apparently the evil being who killed Undine’s friends and what is their relationship to Undine? Will Undine and Heartful Punch fall in love? (Sleepless Domain is very LGBTQ friendly which I like)
The setting and the plot and character development are all good enough to keep me reading.
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