Muscle Note: A Shinigami’s Greatest Gift to Mankind?

A Muscle Note. Whose names would you write in it?

“Hear this: I’m not only Kira, but I’m also God of the new world!”

Or so proclaims Light Yagami, the protagonist of the manga (and later anime) series “Death Note.” With the release of the American film version on Netflix happening not too long ago, it seems only appropriate to discuss a Death Note-inspired fantasy that every female muscle fan would love to see enacted in real life.

What if there existed a Muscle Note?

For those of you who need further background information, Death Note is a popular Japanese manga (or graphic novel) series written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. It was released between December 2003 and May 2006. The animated television series followed from October 2006 to June 2007. Shortly afterward it was dubbed into English and released in North America.

The plot is simple yet ingenious: From the realm of the spirit world, a Shinigami (or a God of Death) named Ryuk drops into the human world a black notebook known as a Death Note. The human who discovers this paranormal tool is named Light Yagami, an intelligent, popular, handsome, and – for the most part – normal high school student. The basic function of the Death Note is easy to understand: If you write the name of any person in the notebook, he or she will die. There are plenty of other finely tuned rules attached to it, but that’s pretty much all you need to know for now.

Eventually, Light tests it out and discovers that the notebook is no joke. It’s real. Its powers are genuine. Then, he gets the idea of killing off criminals who are either crowding the prison system or just simply deserve to die. Light imagines how much more “just” and peaceful the world could be if criminals could easily be “erased” with the literal stroke of a pen. The criminal justice system is too slow, corrupt, bureaucratic, and flawed to serve justice effectively. Fancying himself as the judge, jury, and executioner all in one, Light exhibits delusions of grandeur as he proudly proclaims that he will be the “God of the new world.”

If you are not already into Japanese anime, do not let that stop you from watching this epic 37-episode long TV series. It’s a compelling watch. You could actually waste an entire weekend binge watching it if you’re not careful. And odds are, you won’t regret it. I highly recommend it for everyone out there, even those of you who don’t normally like Asian animation shows. There are a few moments that unfortunately cross over into “immature” territory, but for the most part the series is intelligently written, briskly paced, and a joy to behold.

What if you could transform Gal Gadot into Aspen Rae?

But let’s spin this in a different direction. As alluded to earlier, what if instead of a Death Note, you stumbled upon by happenstance a Muscle Note? The functionality is essentially the same, except for one significant difference: By writing a person’s name in the notebook, you magically transform their bodies to become as muscular as you desire (within a certain limit).

Here are the rules of the Muscle Note:

  1. The human whose name is written in this note shall experience enhanced muscular growth.
  2. This note will not take effect unless the writer has the person’s face in their mind when writing his/her name. Therefore, people sharing the same name will not be affected.
  3. A number on a scale of 1 to 10 must be written next to the name to indicate the level of muscular growth that will occur. Failure to write a number will result in no change in his/her physical appearance. 1 means minimal muscle growth and 10 means maximum growth. Writing a number larger than 10 will not result in any additional growth beyond the threshold of 10.
  4. The muscular growth will happen within 40 seconds of the name being written.
  5. Muscle atrophy will result if the human does not take measures to maintain his/her muscle structure. Therefore, the enhanced muscle growth is not permanent.
  6. The human whose name is written must be between the ages of 18 and 70. If he/she is older or younger than these parameters, no change in physical appearance shall occur.
  7. If the paper on which the human’s name is written is burned, his/her body shall return back to its original state. Erasing the name is not sufficient.
  8. The human who possesses the Muscle Note cannot use it for their own body.
  9. The same human’s name can be written multiple times if the paper on which his/her name was previously written on is properly burned. Writing a different number will result in that human’s body adjusting accordingly.
  10. No more than three humans can possess the Muscle Note at a time.
  11. No human can lose possession of the Muscle Note unless a Kratos decides to take it away from him/her. A human can request to have the Muscle Note taken away from him/her. A Kratos is under no obligation to honor this request.
  12. Humans who suffer from debilitating diseases or chronic physical disabilities and have their name written in the Muscle Note will not experience better health, only enhanced muscular development.

There are probably additional rules, but that’s enough for now. Also, just for your reference, a “Kratos” is named after the Greek god of strength, might, power, and sovereign rule. A Shinigami is a Japanese god of death, so it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for them to be distributing Muscle Notes to the human world. So there’s that.

So imagine you encounter such a notebook. Let’s say the Kratos who decides to drop it on your lap is named “Ryanuk.” He seems friendly enough. Sure, a bit frightening in appearance, but once you get used to him it becomes no big deal. Ryanuk unexpectedly visits you in your bedroom one fateful evening. He carefully introduces himself and explains the rules in detail. Nothing is left up to ambiguity. You thank him for this unrequested gift.

Alright. So now what?

Odds are, since you are unable to use it on yourself (sorry!) you have to use it on somebody else. Where do you begin? Do you “test” it out on somebody first, such as your best friend or a random classmate/officemate? Or do you dive in head-first and go for jugular by writing the name of a young lady you’ve had your eye on?

Or Lady Gaga into Aleesha Young?

Oh, the possibilities! Perhaps that’s why the story of Death Note is so compelling. Not only are we watching Light Yagami make these sorts of decisions on the fly, we are also making them for ourselves. What would we do if we were in his shoes? How would we react if unforeseen stumbling blocks like the enigmatic detective “L” or an infatuated fan-girl like Misa Amane with the Shinigami Eyes were to hinder us from properly executing our larger plans? Could we evade capture for as long as he did, especially considering his own father is a police chief? The suspense built up by the plot has more to do with these endless “what if questions” versus presenting a series of boring and pointless action scenes.

Possessing a Muscle Note would present different questions, but equally intriguing questions – especially if you are a female muscle fan. The first question you’d be asking yourself would be:

“Who?”

Who would you choose to magically transform into a bodybuilder? Maybe you write the name of a girl you have a crush on. Or perhaps a famous celebrity like Gal Gadot or Ariana Grande. Or, of course, your best buddy who goes to the gym five days a week but still can’t get gains to save his life (he’s clearly not consuming enough protein). Regardless, you cannot use it on yourself. Sorry. Ryanuk does have his limits. Selfishness is not a virtue he shares.

Ryanuk also values realism. The peak muscularity a person can reach is that of a Mr. or Ms. Olympia (R.I.P.) competitor. He’s not a fan of “female muscle growth” fiction, so fantasies of transforming a person into a superhuman muscle freak with as much bulging flesh as the Michelin Man is not going to become a reality. So, writing a person’s name and the number “10” after it will result in him or her becoming really muscular, but not unreasonably so. If you were expecting anything more than that, you will be sadly disappointed.

A person who loves muscular women will no doubt feel giddy being in possession of such a supernatural tool. One can only imagine how he or she would utilize it. No doubt many of you have already fantasized about possessing such powers (although not necessarily in the form of a physical Muscle Note). It’s hard to not ponder such things when the supply of muscular women is as rare as a solar eclipse (when statistically compared to the entirety of humankind, that is).

Therefore, the candidates whose names would be written down in this notebook would probably include the following:

  • Real life crushes
  • Celebrities
  • Best friends
  • Athletes on your favorite teams
  • Enemies whom you would like to play tricks on
  • Complete strangers who would look more attractive with enhanced muscle mass

The list can probably go on from here, but you get the point. One does not simply possess a Muscle Note and not take full advantage of it. Especially when you might actually be doing some people a favor by using it. This is your opportunity to become a genuine humanitarian. Did that thought ever occur to you? Well, now it has.

Here’s what your first page of names might look like:

Katy Perry 7
Megan Fox 10
<Cute girl who works at Starbucks> 4
<Your wife/girlfriend> 3 (hey, you want her to look good, but not better than you!)
Nicki Minaj 9
Kim Kardashian 10
<Your favorite basketball player who could grab more rebounds if he were a bit stronger> 6
<Superstar athlete who plays for your hated rival> 1
<Idiot jock who bullies you at school> 1
Pamela Anderson 8 (for those of you who grew up in the 90s)

Scarlett Johansson 5
Gal Gadot 8
<Your boss whom you hate with a passion> 10 (just to see him/her freak out!)
<Your best buddy> 4
<That hot chick who jogs around your neighborhood> 9
Donald Trump 1

You delight after reviewing this list. Then you look at your watch for 40 seconds to pass. Then you check Twitter 10 minutes later to see who’s freaking out. And then you relish the fact you’re causing so much havoc on a global scale without standing up out of your chair.

Right, right. This is all fine and dandy. All of that being said, the second question you might ask yourself is this:

“Should I?”

Obviously, the taking of somebody’s life without their permission is an act of moral reprehension. We call it “murder” and it’s highly illegal for a reason. While making someone’s body more muscular isn’t nearly as morally repulsive as murdering them, there are still ethical considerations to be had.

Or Rihanna into Cydney Gillon?

Basically, is it ever right to do something to a person without their permission, no matter how trivial or “beneficial” it might be? Becoming stronger is almost always a benefit, but that’s irrelevant when we consider the question of personal sovereignty. Using the Muscle Note would be a violation of personal sovereignty, even though many of us dream of looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1970s. Think about how many 20-year-olds who dream of playing in the NFL or MLB or UFC could actually get there if someone (strategically) used the Muscle Note on their bodies. Obviously, one should not use it in drastic fashion – such as transforming someone with a “3” body into a “10” overnight – that could arouse suspicion. That would blow your cover and expose the existence of either a Muscle Note or a miracle drug that somehow snuck into the open market.

These folks are not who we’re talking about. Rather, we’re talking about a gorgeous supermodel who wakes up one morning and finds her physique transformed into Aleesha Young without her permission. That might bring joy to many of us, but that would bring feelings of horror to her. You don’t need to be the world’s most empathetic person to know that’s probably a bit unethical.

But let’s face it. Being the owner of a Muscle Note isn’t about ethics, philosophical values, or vague notions of empathy, compassion, or integrity. Instead, it’s about making your wildest dreams come true with the innocuous stroke of a pen. A Muscle Note is the greatest gift to mankind because it can be used to improve people’s lives, not end it. Yet, one cannot help but think about the grave ramifications of using it on a large scale. Could it instigate a worldwide panic much like Kira did in Death Note? Perhaps. Or it could go unnoticed if it’s used modestly.

Yet, wouldn’t this sort of “cheapen” what it would mean to become a muscular person? Bodybuilders, both men and women, earn their impressive physiques through hard labor, perseverance, strategic planning, forethought, and mental toughness. If you could magically transform someone into a bodybuilder in less than a minute, wouldn’t that person lack a certain level of intrigue?

Many of us love female bodybuilders partly because we are turned on by how difficult it is to be one. Those of us who have participated in a muscle worship or wrestling session with a muscular woman deeply appreciate the blood, sweat, and tears that must have been shed during her journey of achieving such muscularity. We love them not only because their bodies are beautiful; but also because we respect what they’ve chosen to do with their lives. They’ve elected to lead an unorthodox life in pursuit of a physical aesthetic that is not only untraditional but supremely difficult to reach.

One cannot rest on their laurels and still be a bodybuilder. Muscles eventually recede if they are not probably maintained. Thus, being a bodybuilder is like climbing a mountain that has no summit. Even when you reach the top, you still have to labor in order to stay at the top. It’s like reaching the peak of Mount Everest and still having to work in order to stay there. You can’t stop to smell the roses. If you do, you will start to slip further and further downhill. What a cruel thing the human body can be at times.

Or Scarlett Johansson into Shannon Courtney?

But a Muscle Note is one way of bypassing all those scientific rules. With a Muscle Note at your disposal, you can reach the top of Mount Everest and stay there for as long as you want without lifting a finger. Seriously. Just keep that pen handy at all times. That’s all it takes.

Yes, that does cheapen what it means to be hypermuscular. But if we’re just using it for fetishistic ends, the philosophical/ethical considerations are a moot point. If you want your girlfriend to look like Minna Pajulahti for one night only, you can do that by writing her name in the Muscle Note and burning it after you’re done “playing” with her in her temporary costume. So on a crude level a Muscle Note only exists to fulfill our primal sexual fantasies. Oh great. Nothing more, nothing less.

But isn’t that the point of Death Note to begin with? Human beings cannot be trusted with supernatural powers because inevitably people will use it for destructive means, even if their intentions are good and noble at the beginning. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, as the old saying goes. No person should ever have that much power because no person will ever know how to control it. Eventually, power will control you. History has taught us that lesson repeatedly. The real tragedy is that we fail to learn it.

Perhaps this means a Muscle Note is not actually the greatest gift to mankind from the spirit world. No matter how “innocent” our fantasies might originally be, one can never anticipate which road our behavior will go. Will we choose the honorable path, or will we be completely consumed by our own greed and carnal desires that we abuse our powers to the detriment of others?

We can promise that we’d use the Muscle Note to help people like victims of polio, aspiring athletes who come from poor families that could earn riches beyond their wildest dreams, insecure people who could gain considerable self-esteem, and all sorts of individuals suffering from debilitating diseases. Yet, we all know how supernatural powers are usually put to use: to punish people we don’t like or to indulge in our own greediness.

You can guess which path most of us would probably take. Be honest with yourself. You know you’d go crazy and use it for purely selfish means.

And that would be wrong. Yet unquestionably enthralling. And arousing. Oh, the possibilities…

Humans are so interesting, indeed.

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Faster, Female Bodybuilder! Grow! Grow!

An example of FMG art, via David C. Matthews.

An example of FMG art, via David C. Matthews.

Female Muscle Growth (FMG) stories are a staple of online female muscle fandom. After all, who wouldn’t want to spend some quality leisure time reading stories about big and buff female characters doing what big and buff female characters do?

Well, what exactly do big and buff female fictional characters do? Whatever the author wishes, of course! Bashing in the skulls of dastardly villains, taking on a horde of flesh-eating zombies singlehandedly, warding off an alien invasion, or befriending a small and nerdy male protagonist (usually to the erotic benefit of said male protagonist) are all par for the course. Naturally, this genre of fiction appeals to a wide number of female muscle fans out there in the wider world.

Therefore, one would expect that yours truly, Ryan Takahashi, would be an avid fan of FMG stories. And do you know what? I’m……………..not.

Wait, what?

That’s right. As shocking as this might sound, FMG stories don’t really appeal to me. This sounds especially odd since I’ve published lots of female muscle-themed fictional stories on my blog. Doesn’t it make logical sense that Mr. Takahashi would also be a passionate supporter of FMG tales?

Well, not really. I’ve tried to read some FMG stories posted on popular female muscle websites, but they don’t allure me as much as you’d think. I’m not in any way shape or form judging these writers, editors, and contributors in a negative fashion. It’s not the quality of the writing, plotlines or narrative structures that I find unappealing. Rather, it’s the general concept of FMG that turns me off.

Like always, I shall explain what I mean in further detail.

Before you dust off the pitchforks and torches (as well as the tar and feathers), let me provide a little background on the genre of FMG so you can be assured I’m not speaking out of ignorance.

Female Muscle Growth is a subgenre of erotic fiction that features a female protagonist – although the character could be the antagonist – who starts off as a normal-sized young woman but eventually finds herself transformed into a beautiful, sexy and hyper-muscular She-Hulk of epic proportions. Usually this transformation happens for reasons such as a scientific experiment, a magical spell is cast upon her, special DNA is injected into her bloodstream, a supernatural talisman, side effects from a new brand of medication, a potion created by a sorcerer, latent superpowers that she just discovers, and so on.

The specific reason why our modest heroine is transformed into a Super Muscle Goddess changes, but the general idea remains the same. It isn’t because she’s a pro bodybuilder who built her muscles naturally by eating right, working out like a mad woman, strategically using steroids/human growth hormones, and resting in proper increments. That sort of transformation takes months and years, not mere seconds. It’s not magical; it’s scientific.

She-Hulk!

She-Hulk!

Popular forums for finding FMG stories include Diana the Valkyrie’s Library of Amazon growth stories, Forum Saradas, and various DeviantArt pages. There are of course individual blogs, websites, and Tumblr sites also dedicated to publishing or sharing FMG content. There might be printed books and e-books that follow the FMG formula, but I haven’t done enough research to point you in any specific direction. Without question, all the FMG fiction you want is just a simple Google search away. Isn’t the Internet a swell place?

As mentioned previously, many times these stories also feature a male protagonist who is usually meek, nerdy, socially awkward, and not very popular with the ladies (of any size). Just like a lot of us! I don’t want to paint all of us with a broad brush, but it’s probably not a stretch of the imagination to say that many of us aren’t what one would consider a modern day Casanova. Yes, I know many of you readers are happily married or are in a stable relationship, but that certainly isn’t every single one of you. I can speak for myself when I say my personal history with women isn’t full of proud successes!

So these stories are a perfect avenue for less-than triumphant guys (some would call them beta males, but that’s a whole other story) to live vicariously through these fictional characters. Even guys who are popular with the ladies occasionally want to fantasize about being with a big and buff female companion…if even for a few moments.

FMG stories are usually accompanied by either illustrations of these ladies (often times in the style of Japanese hentai) or images of real women enhanced generously by Adobe PhotoShop. Or there may not be any images at all. Not everyone is an artist or a PhotoShop wizard. Also, not everyone is unethical enough to steal images produced by another artist or wealthy enough to pay a professional artist to sketch illustrations for them.

That being said, why am I not a big fan of this genre of fiction? Well, there are a few reasons. The first is that I prefer muscular women who earn their muscles through hard work and dedication rather than through supernatural means. In all the fiction I’ve written featuring a female muscle protagonist, all of them are professional or semi-professional bodybuilders who became big and strong the old fashioned way. This better reflects the type of characters I find most appealing.

My love for muscular women isn’t just defined by the fact they have large muscles. I love big muscles just as much as any other female muscle fan, but I also love the context behind their fabulous muscles. I love that they had to earn every single muscle fiber they have on their beautiful bodies. I love knowing they’ve had to make difficult sacrifices in order to get that big (no FBB spends all her free time watching TV, drinking beer, and eating pizza). I appreciate their willingness to restructure their lives around building up the muscle mass they need to compete at the highest level. I love their vulnerability, toughness, emotional fortitude, discipline, and supreme confidence.

In other words, I love strong women because of what it takes for them to become strong women.

FMG stories aren’t my cup of tea because these characters don’t earn their muscles. Their muscles are given to them with little to no effort on their part. A magic potion, one individual super strength vitamin pill, a single injection of experimental DNA and things like that are cheap ways to gain unreal muscle growth. But Rene Campbell, for example, is different. She makes sacrifices. She’s costed herself a stable love life in order to pursue bodybuilding. She gets looks of disgust from people all the time because she can’t simply turn off her muscularity like a light switch. Her muscles are with her 24/7/365. They are a part of her identity. They are embedded within who she is as a human being.

A fan-created FMG interpretation of popular anime character Sakura Haruno.

A fan-created FMG interpretation of popular anime character Sakura Haruno.

As fantasy fiction, FMG stories do what they’re supposed to do. They provide quick titillation and entertainment for legions of female muscle enthusiasts. Fantastic! I have no quarrel with that. It’s just not for me. That’s it. I’m not judging the genre, insulting those who love the genre, or calling for the genre to adapt to my specific tastes. My opinion doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in this world. Even if it did, I wouldn’t alter the genre in any way. People love it, so they should be allowed to enjoy it. Sound fair?

It’s just not my cut of steak. That’s all there is to it.

Another reason why I don’t particular dig this genre is that the “beta male” stereotype annoys me. I understand not every single FMG story features this archetype, but many do. Look, I am in no way a “man’s man” or anything like that, but the perception that all guys who dig muscular women are somehow emasculated man-children who fetishize being in a hapless subordinate position to powerful women gets a bit tiring after a while.

One other reason is that at the end of the day, I find realism to be much more appealing than fantasy. I realize that all fiction is unreal, but what I mean is “realistic.” Effective erotic fiction should, in my opinion, reflect a certain degree of plausible realism. That isn’t to say that the sci-fi and fantasy genres can’t be erotically appealing. It’s just that on a personal level, I tend to prefer realistic situations that closely mirror real life.

This preference isn’t for everybody, nor should it be. I’m not judging people who don’t share my views. It’s totally fine to disagree with me. This is just how I assess what excites me.

This is why I find the vast majority of mainstream porn to be boring, stupid, and uninteresting. I don’t want to sit down and watch 30 minutes of two plastic surgery-enhanced doofuses have passionless sex all while hurling fake screams and moans in between painfully written dialogue. Wait, there’s actual dialogue in porn? Yeah, I guess there is. If you care about that sort of thing.

The kinds of porn that I do find fun to watch is when I can identity (or come close to identifying) the people involved. The “plotline” in most porn is so unimaginative it’s become an ongoing joke. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl take off their clothes. Boy and girl then have sex. And more sex. Then from different positions. Then a second boy or girl enters the room. Then the pizza delivery guy knocks on the door. Then mommy or daddy unexpectedly arrives home early, carrying with them the usual assortment of whips, handcuffs, dildos, vibrators, rope, and bottles of lube.

Yuck. We all know how it goes.

In similar fashion, FMG stories tend to (although not all of it is like this, to be completely fair) follow the same general outline. The names, faces, and specific situations may change, but not too much. We are introduced to a girl who is shy and weak. Then she miraculously becomes muscle-bound. Then she meets a boy. Then…well, the rest is up to whoever is writing the story.

A more pen-and-paper version of FMG art, via Diana Valkyrie.

A more pen-and-paper version of FMG art, via Diana Valkyrie.

I suppose I shouldn’t slam this too much. Lots of guys (and gals) in this world love FMG, so who am I to spoil the party?

Different strokes for different folks, I guess. Perhaps a better approach to this subject is to explain not why I don’t like FMG stories, but why other forms of female muscle fiction appeal to me more. I love browsing through photos of fitness models, female bodybuilders, and other kinds of muscular women. Cartoon drawings of such women don’t entice to me as much. I have nothing but respect for these artists (as the tiresome cliché goes, I can barely draw a stick figure!), however I much prefer the real thing. Just spend a few moments and take a look at Minna Pajulahti’s Instagram account. Oh boy. That’ll get your blood boiling!

Want some examples of female muscle fiction that I happen to enjoy? Read “Chemical Pink” by Katie Arnoldi (who herself is a former bodybuilder) and “Devil and Disciple – The Temptation” by L. J. K. Cross (a.k.a. Lisa Cross, the famed British female bodybuilder). These two novels are fantastic reads. Go check them out if you can! It’s easy to order them on Amazon.com if you have a few extra bucks lying around.

Here is how I will tie this all in together. If you haven’t started preparing the tar and feathers and searching for a railroad track to parade me on, go ahead and do so. I’ll wait. In the meantime, what I’ll say is this:

I love muscular women for many reasons. The main one is aesthetic. I REALLY love how they look. On this point, we should all be in universal agreement. Muscular women are Goddesses on Earth and should be treated as such. There’s a darn good reason why many of us fantasize about worshipping their muscles as if they were deities in the flesh. That’s because in our fantasy worlds, they ARE deities in the flesh. And they have a lot of muscular flesh on their gorgeous bodies, ready for us to touch – if they let us, of course.

The other reason why I love muscular women is because they’re beautiful in ways that they have to earn. Nobody gave them their muscles. They didn’t sign their names on the dotted line and a FedEx delivery guy simply drove their pre-packaged muscles to their homes and dropped them off on the front porch. You can’t buy big muscles at Target. You don’t sign any contracts. You don’t sit around and wait for someone or something to hand them to you.

You have to earn it. Every single day of your life.

And that’s exactly what female bodybuilders do. They earn their muscles. Since we love looking at their muscles, logically speaking they also earn their beauty. Unlike the beautiful Abercrombie & Fitch models you see on wall-sized advertisements, many female bodybuilders (although not all) are not born conventionally beautiful. We often get jealous of professional models because they make a living – although recent news stories have reported that there is copious abuse within the industry, which unfortunately shouldn’t surprise any of us – thanks to their natural God-given looks. In a way, that kind of jealousy is understandable.

But not so with female bodybuilders. Their beautiful muscular bodies were not given to them from birth. Good genetics did not automatically grant them their six-pack abs, bulging biceps, broad shoulders, thick thighs, rounded calves, and toned butt. They had to sacrifice blood, sweat, and tears to get those assets. While we may harbor some level of envy toward women who can bench press more than us, at the end of the day she busted her tail year-in and year-out to be able to do those lifts. If we put in the same amount of hard work, so can the rest of us. It’s that simple.

Personally, I'd rather look at photos of real life female bodybuilders like Minna Pajulahti.

Personally, I’d rather look at photos of real life female bodybuilders like Minna Pajulahti.

Getting to the top of Mount Everest isn’t nearly as impressive as putting in the work, strategic planning, and preparation necessary to be able to climb Mount Everest in the first place. The journey is just as compelling as the end goal. In this respect, I love female bodybuilders because of the arduous journey they’re on. We can appreciate the final product, but we can also appreciate the road they had to travel to achieve that final product.

At the heart of FMG fiction is cutting through that long and windy road and getting from Point A to Point B in a matter of seconds. That’s not intriguing to me; not because a particular FMG story isn’t well written or well-conceived, but rather because it eliminates the very core reason why I love muscular women in the first place. They earned their muscles through strenuous hard labor, not a magic pill concocted by a mad scientist.

I want female bodybuilders to grow and grow just like the next guy. But I want the journey to take as long as it needs to. Give me a photo of a young fitness Instagram model over a hyper-muscular ‘roided up cartoon character any day. But if that’s your thing, go for it! I encourage people to express their female muscle fandom in any way they choose (as long as it’s legal and consensual, of course).

But alas, I digress. If FMG stories are what rock your socks, I am in no position of authority to say it shouldn’t. By all means, read, write, and draw all the FMG art your heart desires! Do whatever makes you happy, I say. This is not a condemnation of FMG, people who like FMG, or people who create FMG. This is just my humble take on the genre. I’d be happy to hear your thoughts and reactions in the comments below or by sending me an e-mail at ryantakahashi87 (at) yahoo (dot) com. I may even write a follow-up post sharing what you write (or rant) to me.

In the meantime, I swear I can smell the tar boiling in the cauldron…

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Kudos goes out to David C. Matthews for being a supremely talented female muscle artist. Please check out his comic series Tetsuko if you haven’t already! The FMG drawing of popular anime character Sakura Haruno is created by Pegius. The illustration of She-Hulk is done by Michele Frigo.