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  • 2022 Winter Premiere Digest

    The new year brought us a quiet season with some hidden gems and stellar rom-coms.

  • Re:Zero’s critique of Nice Guy Subaru and supposedly selfless love

    Though often shown empathizing with and caring for Emilia, Subaru is also manipulative and controlling towards her. Re:Zero highlights these contradictions to create a portrayal of what is often the actual problem with Nice Guys: the assumption of commodifying good behavior for the return of love or sex, and the sense of entitlement or control over the person they like that often stems from it.

  • Wolf Queens and Girl Heroes: How Lonely Castle in the Mirror Plays with Gendered Fairytale Tropes

    Tsujimura Mizuki’s best-selling novel Lonely Castle in the Mirror twists and plays with familiar fairytale tropes to empower its young female characters.

  • Love Hina and the Normalization of Male Abuse

    The abuse women can inflict on their partners is a topic taken seriously by intersectional feminist discourse, but often dismissed and even normalized in mainstream media. In anime, this was especially prominent in the world of harem anime. The wildly popular 2000s series Love Hina is a useful emblem of this, as it showcases normalized abuse directed by women toward its male protagonist.

  • The Importance of Centering Black Fans When Discussing Yasuke

    With positive reviews and high ratings, Yasuke is a critical success. However, I found Yasuke lacking and wanted some perspectives on this story that was supposed to center a Black lead from people other than the mostly white critics who were praising it. Thankfully, I found several overlooked Black reviewers highlighting how the show falls short of the source material’s potential.

  • #AnitwtKKK: When Trolling is Just White Supremacy in Disguise

    Racebending, or drawing characters as races other than what they were intended as, is not new to fandom; however, this particular iteration was to counter the fact that the person took it upon themself to aggressively white out the existence of canonically Black and brown characters in anime.

  • 2021 Fall Three Episode Check-In

    This is a Fall of firsts–including the tentative death of Netflix jail (kinda). Join us as we check in on some hotly anticipated adaptations.

  • 2021 Fall Premiere Digest

    This fall brings passion projects by big-name creators, long-awaited adaptations, and some unexpected surprises!

  • Portrayals of Black Masculinity in Carole & Tuesday

    Despite its social justice-minded storytelling, Carole & Tuesday can be a frustrating watch as it swings back and forth between exploring these characters as nuanced individuals and perpetuating harmful stereotypes of Black masculinity.

  • Gearing Up or Dressing Up? On female fighter equipment

    When it comes to a particular category of battle-related gripes, I think I’m less the annoyingly fastidious critic nobody wants to watch a show with, and am actually harping about something genuinely important: female fighter equipment, which too often sacrifices realism and practicality in favor of sex appeal. In anime, this issue manifests in three major forms: “boob armor,” high heels, and “chainmail bikinis,” all which hurt the dignity of not only the characters who must wear them but also the female viewers who must endure the real-world effects of such normalized sexualization of womens’ bodies.

  • Pregnancy as the pinnacle of womanhood in TSF porn

    Though inherently absurd once verbalized, “Abenime” are stories that speak to a nation’s plight. They are designed to manufacture consent by defining baby making as the norm. Women can make babies; ipso facto, their role in saving Japanese society lies in buffering the ever-shrinking population with young, healthy babies who will carry on the nation in the future.
    And while this attitude reaches public discourse by way of popular entertainment, it also likewise prevails within narratives not often discussed out in the open.

  • The Dead Mothers of Shounen

    To be a mother in a shounen series, especially of a male protagonist, is often a guaranteed death sentence. It also means a lack of characterization outside of her role as a caretaker. Even otherwise highly acclaimed series are guilty of these tropes, and I can’t help but wonder why they continue to persist.

  • Queer Subtext and Representation in Kamen Rider

    Much of the franchise’s homoeroticism is a result of the franchise’s severe gender disparity, which it has only recently taken steps to address; the series took 31 years to get its first female Kamen Rider. There have also been canonically gay, transgender and nonbinary characters, but the quality of representation is questionable. Regardless, many LGBTQ+ viewers have seen their own experiences reflected in the many characters of Kamen Rider, whether implicitly or explicitly.

  • Is it Hot in Here? Consent, communication, and boundaries in Sweat and Soap

    Even with a hefty dose of olfactophilia, Sweat and Soap is as heart-warming and nourishing as it gets. In a genre rife with toxic relationships and uncomfortable relationship dynamics, Sweat and Soap takes what seems like a fetishistic premise and turns it into a story about the growth of a healthy relationship. Throughout the story, we see Natori and Asako set boundaries, communicate clearly, and, most of all, grow as individual people.

  • The Always Smiling Girl: How Tohru critiques toxic positivity

    The narrative takes care to demonstrate that Tohru has her own issues, and highlights that her relentlessly positive attitude and her devotion to putting others before herself is not healthy. Ultimately, Fruits Basket explores and unpacks the harmful side of her relentless positivity as one of many healing stories across the series.

  • Cannon Busters: Black representation beyond social issue dramas

    Anime with multiple Black leads, though not unheard of, were rare. I had to know if this was a fluke, or an elaborate marketing ploy to bait viewers like me, who eagerly soaked up every ounce of non-stereotyped diversity they could get their hands on. What I discovered was so much more than that. The fun of Cannon Busters isn’t just its inclusiveness, but in the way it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

  • Convenient Monsters: The problem with Frill and Wonder Egg Priority’s take on trauma

    Just as the dreamscape Wonder Killers provide a convenient and killable representation of the issues that harm young people, the writers of the show invent a convenient “monster” and pin the blame for those very issues on her. As a result, a lot of the nuance in the series’ treatment of trauma and suicide is lost.

  • When the Most Precious Diamond is Not a Piece of Jewelry: MAJOR 2ND and female baseball players’ struggles in a male-dominated sport

    Although Daigo’s teammates and rivals are mainly male in the beginning of the series, as time goes on, the female cast becomes increasingly robust, to the point that Daigo’s middle school team is majoritively formed by girls. This is big for the sport anime genre as a whole, as it represents an important step towards gender equality and the media visibility of women in sports.

  • “Serves You Right”: The abolitionist condemnation of retributive justice in Akudama Drive

    With a cast mostly of “dangerous criminals” identified by the crimes they’ve committed instead of their names, I assumed Akudama Drive’s dystopian setting would act as little more than set dressing in a story that ultimately reinforces, rather than challenges, the stigmatization of criminalized people. I have rarely been happier to be proven wrong. Echoing the calls of the prison abolition movement, Akudama Drive delivers a powerful and subversive statement against the criminal legal system, one that goes beyond slogans like All Cops Are Bastards and questions the basis of our conception of justice.

  • Race, power dynamics, and the missed opportunities of Great Pretender

    The initial premise promised colorful heists alongside an interesting story, but it ultimately failed its characters of color.