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  • Strength Unsaid: How Moribito’s main characters normalize gender equality

    The roles and characterization of main characters Balsa, Tanda, and Prince Chagum make gender equality seem natural, and therefore powerful, even if their story takes place in a patriarchal system.

  • Parasociality Killed the VTuber Star

    While many people can maintain a healthy relationship with them as entertainment personalities, others developed an unhealthy level of parasocial attachment, particularly to the female creators. These parasocial fans have caused incident after incident, making the space unsafe to VTubers and the audience alike, and are even suspected to have caused some of them to “graduate,” or retire from streaming. The most infamous of those incidents is the case of Kiryu Coco.

  • Queer media, escapism and self-discovery in Sasaki and Miyano

    While the series itself is a sweet, wholesome story about self-discovery, it also offers an incredibly potent metatextual analysis of how queer media can help LGBTQ+ teens come to understand themselves.

  • Framing the Model Minority Myth with Neo Cat

    Hi, it’s me, Chiaki, once again thinking too hard about cats in media. Today I’m here to tell you that Aoka’s Neo Cat conveys how being celebrated doesn’t necessarily exempt you from racism.

  • Death Notes on Camp: Repurposing a classic

    New layers and new ways to appreciate the series emerge when it’s considered as a campy melodrama rather than the brooding thriller that writer Ohba Tsugumi intended it to be.

  • Moriarty the Patriot’s class war is far from history in the UK

    In the anime, Moriarty’s seamless assimilation into British high society makes an inadvertent mockery of the idea that you can simply be born “better” than others. The reality is anyone could get into Moriarty’s position with the right opportunities, but not everyone would choose to share the resources they gained to support those they left behind. It’s no exaggeration to say that to many, classism still feels so deeply ingrained in the UK it seems like the country would collapse without it.
    This begs the question: how effective is Moriarty’s plan to burn everything to the ground, and what does the UK (both in fiction and reality) need to do in order to destroy class inequality for good?

  • Unsung Heroes: The women of The Heike Story

    The creators of The Heike Story go a step further beyond tribute with the character of Biwa: by presenting her as the epic’s original author-performer, the anime adaptation places the theme of female agency front and center in what is otherwise a male-centric work.

  • In the Name of Art: Academic burnout in Blue Period

    The detrimental effect of academic burnout can be easy to overlook. While the media has had a hand in normalizing these behaviors, stories are starting to crop up that examine the issue critically. Blue Period is an excellent study in the behavior that leads to burnout and the consequences that follow.

  • All My Darling Daughters and the need for working women’s success and failure stories

    Just as inspirational stories of women who achieve their goals are necessary, stories of those who are forced to relinquish them are equally important. Success stories are empowering, but in a vacuum they may unintentionally insinuate that failure also rests entirely on effort, laying the blame on women themselves rather than the disadvantages they face as a result of gender inequality.

  • The Orbital Children’s Rejection of Ecofascist Ideas

    The Orbital Children rejects the ecofascist idea that humans need to be controlled and culled in the name of someone’s idea of “humanity” and demands we imagine a better future that everyone gets to be a part of.

  • Choosing to “Remain Strong” Against Female Criticism: The vindictive storytelling of Oda Eiichiro

    While One Piece looms large in the present and past, conversations about how Oda treats women have often taken place on a surface level. Oda started his career by including women in prominent and active roles in his stories. But as time went on, he began responding to criticism by taking it out on his female characters and fans alike, undoing the good work he had done in the series’ early days.

  • 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.

  • 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.