Ship in a Bottle is a fantasy magical girl saga that takes place in contemporary times. It revolves around two central characters: the genie, Shiphrah, and her new master, Alan Parker. Included in the tale are Alan’s friends and associates who each fulfill a set of classic anime tropes, however with twists.
(usually) It’s an “hentai” (Japanese word for ‘perverted’) romantic comedy with lots of nudity, bad language, adult themes, comedic/slapstick violence and sexual innuendo, but no hardcore sex. Basically, the kind of stuff you’d find in the 17+ area of the anime aisle at the video store or in your average R-Rated movie. So get ready for some serious cheese, folks. In mid-2011, “Mace Paladino”, the series creator, decided to “take the gloves off” and integrate all of the “hardcore” bonus materials into series canon, thus elevating the rating of the comic from “R” to “Adult”. The primary reason for this change is that the paysite concept was not reasonable for a single comic, but he did not want the artwork to go to waste.
More to come as we get character drawings and bios in place!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: “Is Beatrice a lesbian?”
A: This question came up indirectly as a result of a user comment not too long ago. The short answer is “no”. More accurately, Beatrice is bisexual with lesbian tendencies. That means that she is comfortable with and can have relationships with men, but PREFERS women as a general rule. The TV Tropes page has been edited to reflect this aspect of her character.
Q: “What is Beatrice and Bear’s relationship?”
A: Initially, Bear was nothing more than Beatrice’s perverted minion in the earliest drafts of his character. However, as I started to flesh the story out a bit more, I realized that I wanted more depth (even for a ridiculous magical-girl harem comedy, yes). So as the story stands right now, they enjoy a committed, polyamorous relationship. So, what that means is that while they are free to enjoy sex with other people (notably, Beatrice likes having threesomes with Ship and Alan. Bear’s side-relationships have yet to be revealed), in the end, they come home to each other. Additionally, they’ve known each other since childhood and have been in-and-out of many scrapes together.
Q: “Why is Bear helping Alan and Ship in the bonus comics?”
A: Simple: in Episode 3: “Hokum Pocus”, Bear was tasked with “helping Alan to be less of a douche with the ladies.” In the process of this and subsequent “offscreen” adventures (which may be the subject of other bonus comics), Bear and Alan became “bros”. They act as wingmen and have lots of sexy adventures picking up women. Naturally, this brings up the followup question…
Q: “How does Ship feel about this?”
A: Depends on how much involvement she has with choosing Alan’s dalliances. Remember: it’s clear that Ship loves Alan. But I am only paying homage to Rumiko Takahashi, not imitating her work. We also have Sydney Sheldon’s “I Dream of Jeannie” as a very strong reference point, and it is FAR more influential in how I am structuring the plot of “Ship in a Bottle”. As a result, Ship is absolutely NOT Akane, Kagome OR Shinobu, nor is she Shampoo or Lum. She’s MUCH more like an open-minded Jeannie. When Alan ignores her, she MIGHT switch into “Lum mode” and zap Alan, or deliberately mess up his wishes. But that’s as close as she comes.
Q: “Where do Alan and Ship currently live?”
A: Alan’s grandfather owned a three-story building that occupies a prominent block in Downtown Sam Hill where the curio shop and his personal residence was located. When Alan inherited his grandfather’s shop, he got the large residence along with it. The exact size and layout is currently up to the reader’s imagination (and based on what is shown in the comic itself, which is deliberately vague to lend some mystery to the precise layout), and that way we aren’t painted into a corner with what can be seen or done with the residence, story-wise.
Q: “What does Ship’s name mean/where is it from?”
A: For this one, I shall go to Wikipedia:
Shiphrah (Hebrew: שִׁפְרָה šiᵽrâ) was one of two midwives who helped prevent the genocide of Hebrew children by the Egyptians, according to Exodus 1:15-21. The name is found in a list of slaves in Egypt during the reign of Sobekhotep III. This list is on Brooklyn 35.1446, a papyrus scroll kept in the Brooklyn Museum.
If the Shiphrah on the Brooklyn document is the same as the one in the Bible, or a close contemporary, then the Pharaoh of the Exodus must be the one named Dudimose or Tutimaios. However, Shiphrah is described in the Bible and Jewish traditions as not being enslaved, rather hired by Pharaoh, and then was saved from slavery the entire time in Egypt. If this interpretation is correct, then the Shiphrah in the list may be another woman of the same name, but the chronological connection remains in place. Other possibilities are that Shiphrah may have been first a slave, then freed; or that the Jewish traditions may not go back in time far enough to be authentic.
Francine Klagsbrun said that the refusal of Shiphrah and her colleague Puah to follow the Pharaoh’s genocidal instructions “may be the first known incident of civil disobedience in history.” (Voices of Wisdom, ISBN 0-394-40159-X)
Meaning: ‘improved’ or ‘beautiful’ (in modern Hebrew, leshaper means “to improve.”)
Now, me personally, I favor the idea that her name means “beautiful”. As a friend pointed out: “I don’t see what she could be improved from.” What indeed, eh?