Chatty AF 199: 2023 Fall Wrap-Up (WITH TRANSCRIPT)

By: Anime Feminist January 21, 20240 Comments

Caitlin, Toni, and Peter wrap-up another Fall season with a few hidden gems, a few series that failed to stick the landing, and a bunch of sequels!

Episode Information

Date Recorded: January 15th 2024
Hosts: Caitlin, Toni, Peter

Episode Breakdown

0:00:00 Intros
Pit of Shame
0:01:37 A Girl and Her Guard Dog
Yellow Flags
0:03:06 Protocol: Rain
0:06:03 KamiErabi
0:07:34 The 100 Girlfriends Who Really Really Really Really REALLY Love You
Neutral Zone
0:14:25 The Yuzuki Family’s Four Sons
0:14:51 Tearmoon Empire
0:17:44 Shangri-La Frontier
0:18:57 Paradox Live the Animation
0:22:26 OVERTAKE!
0:25:55 My New Boss is Goofy
0:28:33 Migi&Dali
0:35:58 Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End
0:39:26 Firefighter Daigo: Rescuer in Orange
It’s… complicated
0:45:10 Our Dating Story: The Experienced You and the Inexperienced Me
0:47:26 I’m in Love with the Villainess
Feminist Potential
0:48:44 SHY
0:54:48 Power of Hope ~Precure Full Bloom~
0:55:14 The Apothecary Diaries
1:00:47 16bit Sensation: Another Layer
Sequels and Carryovers
1:06:19 Hypnosis Mic Season 2
1:07:13 SPY x FAMILY Season 2
1:08:34 The Ancient Magus’ Bride Season 2
1:09:01 Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead
1:14:23 Outro

Further Reading

2023 Fall Premiere Digest

2023 Fall Three-Episode Check-In

2023 Fall Mid-Season Check-In

CAITLIN: Hi and welcome to Chatty AF: The Anime Feminist Podcast. We are wrapping up fall of 2023. I almost said “winter of 2023” because it is now winter. We’ve got so much stuff to talk about, so we’re just gonna blast through it! I’m Caitlin. I’m the community manager at Anime Feminist. I also write reviews for Anime News Network. I also edit from time to time when I have the time, which unfortunately is not very much recently. And today I am joined by Toni and Peter.

TONI: Hi, I’m Toni. I’m an editor at AniFem. You can find me on Twitter, Instagram, and other social platforms @poetpedagogue.

PETER: And I’m Peter Fobian. I’m YouTube strategy and content at Crunchyroll, and I’m an editor here at Anime Feminist. I’m @PeterFobian on Bluesky now.

CAITLIN: Alright. So, we’ve got so much to talk about, because there’s a lot of shows this season and all of us watched a lot, with not actually a ton of overlap, so there will be some monologuing. We’re gonna try to keep it short today. Right, guys? Gender-neutral “guys”?

PETER: Doing our best.

CAITLIN: So, I just want to do a quick check-in. We usually skip over Pit of Shame, but I do want to mention A Girl and Her Guard Dog. You know, it ended exactly the way you think it would. At its heart, it’s a fetish anime! You know? If you’re not into age gap, don’t watch it. If you’re not into pseudo-incest, don’t watch it. That’s really all there is to say about it. The animation melted so much by the end that it is actually pretty fun for a hate-watch, because you keep going “all of the off-model faces in these supposedly sexy moments are crazy!” They completely fall apart. I do want to point out real quick that— If this is something you’re into. It’s still not a very good show. But I did appreciate that they kind of do address the experience gap, because, spoilers: they get together at the end!

PETER: [deadpan] Oh, really? Wow.

CAITLIN: And he is an adult man. He has had sex before, many times. And so, his expectations are “Okay, this girl and I are getting together. Let’s have sex.” And they kinda have to work through that. So I did appreciate that about it. But it’s still not a good anime by any stretch of the imagination!

So let’s move on towards Protocol: Rain! So, I’m also going to monologue about this one. I haven’t watched the last episode yet because I was traveling around the holidays and then premieres started. It’s not good! It gets pretty wild towards the end. There’s a whole big melodrama about how this guy wants the main character— God, I can’t think of any of the characters’ names, so… This guy wants the main character to become a professional esports player, and to do that he has to cast off everything he wants to do. And the little sister, he says, is probably psychosomatically disabled, because she really wants her older brother to take care of her and there’s a lot of screaming “No!” in the rain. 

At one point, she crawls out the door and falls down the stairs of their apartment building and he finds her face down at the bottom of the stairs, in a puddle, and he takes her into the shower. And I’m just like, “No! Don’t do that! She probably has a spinal injury! If she was only psychosomatically disabled before, she could very well be for-real paralyzed now after you’ve done this.” Don’t move people who have fallen down who might have a neck injury, guys. Just don’t do it. So, yeah, the little sister stuff gets so weird. It’s so strange.

PETER: Really pulling away from the esports.

CAITLIN: Yeah. The esports is like whatever. It all goes into drama. The actress girl’s… her manager wants her to stop playing because what if someone finds out. It’s a conflict with her image. And I feel like you could dig into that, where she has to give up things in her life in order to be successful. And it’s not like a time thing [where] you can’t have both because they conflict with each other. The conflict is you have to put on this public persona of being hyperfeminine and playing esports is counter to that. Which… I don’t want to spend too much time on this show, because it’s not a good show. I’m not recommending it. But that is kind of a mess. [Chuckles] And there is something that we could unpack a lot there if we really wanted to, but I don’t feel like that’s a particularly productive discussion. And so, let’s move up to…

TONI: This is what Vrai has to say about KamiErabi, which is Yoko Taro’s anime this season. Vrai says: “I’m pretty sure I’m the only person on Earth watching this, despite it somehow getting a continuation. I wanted to shout it out because while it’s not getting a formal rec, I really like it. I’d still primarily recommend it to other people with Yoko Taro brainworms, but it’s also easily the most interesting take I’ve seen on the death game concept in years. It feels like it has actual compassion for its characters in spite of the occasional edgelord-ish flair and the kind of hopeful melancholia I associate with Yoko Taro’s works. 

Did I roll my eyes when there was a monologue about Schrödinger’s cat delivered by the antagonist to his saintly blind sister? Absolutely, but in an affectionate way. I did find myself wishing it had been a game rather than an anime. The aesthetic is striking, but it does look unavoidably janky in a way that would feel more forgivable in an interactive medium. Also, the opening and ending: both jams. Also, take this with a grain of salt because my knowledge of Japanese is fairly rudimentary, but it does kind of bother me that the protagonist’s familiar, Lall, is referred to as ‘she’ in the subtitles when, nearly as I’ve been able to hear, the dialogue either avoids pronouns or uses indirect language like ‘koitsu’ when talking about them. Possibly, there was a nuance I missed that the translator caught, but it did stick out.” Alright, those were Vrai’s notes on KamiErabi

CAITLIN: Now, y’all can talk about The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You.

TONI: By the time this comes out, it will be clear that we are not putting it on our recommendations page, and I guess I should explain why, despite the fact that I was very glowing in my three-episode review. So, I mean, there’s some really obvious problems. The thing is that this show is pretty well written. In terms of comedy it is very funny. Most of the girls are great. But then, the last two arcs have introduced two girls who are less great. Um… I forget her name. Chemistry girl. What’s chemistry girl’s name? Is it Kutsuri? Kusuri?

PETER: [crosstalk] Yeah, it’s Kusuri, as a joke, yeah.

TONI: Why is that a joke, behind “Kusuri”?

PETER: [crosstalk] Yakuzen Kusuri. “Kusuri” means medicine.

TONI: Oh, of course. She’s medicine girl. Yeah, so, I mean, her whole shtick is that she drugs people without their consent, and then they have all these weird side effects and hate the fact that she drugged them without their consent and then they abandon her. And she’s all scarred from having people abandon her for drugging them without their consent, sometimes in sexual ways.

CAITLIN: [crosstalk] Perhaps she should stop doing that!

TONI: Yeah, maybe!

CAITLIN: Perhaps she should stop doing that.

TONI: And then Rentaro’s reaction is not to be like, “Hey! Let’s figure out other ways for you to experiment with this that don’t require human subjects or require people without their consent.” No, his reaction is “I will always help you clean up any mess you’re in.” That is not a good mindset. It almost reminds me of when we look at, for example, situations like Nicki Minaj, who covers for her abuser boyfriend, or just all these situations where people cover for their abuser partners and it’s just represented as this act of love when it’s not; it’s enabling! Yeah, I fucking hate her. I despise her as a character. The only good thing that came out of her arc is when Hakari imagined what it would be like if she got the titty growth juice and it’s just the most absurd eldritch horror you’ve ever seen. And that was very funny. But, you know, that’s like basically saying the best character in the show—Hakari, objectively—salvaged a tiny little grain of gold from the worst character in the show.

And then, the last arc with Hakari’s mom… obvious age-gap problem, obvious pedophilia problem. I’m not even gonna go into that. Not worth it. But the other issue is just that a lot of the show is about these horizontal relationships between the girls, especially for Hakari, given that her and tsundere girl… there’s a running gag that they are actually in love with each other pretty much as much as they are in love with Rentaro. It’s heavily— They kiss, they snuggle up together and make out in their sleep… It’s kind of a running gag that they’re both bisexual, which, you know… Gag bisexuality, especially for female bisexual characters, is starting to annoy me like after, I don’t know, seeing it in The Good Place and now in this. But it is nice that they’re bisexual. Don’t get me wrong; I like that. 

But then, to have Hakari’s mom become one of the girlfriends introduces all kinds of problems. I don’t know if you should be in the cuck chair while you watch your mom fuck your boyfriend, to be very vulgar about it. Right? Situations like that are what could arise, right? And I don’t want to think about that. That’s weird. All sorts of things are just arising from this that I don’t like. Is it still well written? Yes. Did I still cry at certain points? Yes. But is it something that I would recommend on a feminist anime website? Absolutely not. [Chuckles]

PETER: That’s fair. I am curious about what you thought of the crossdressing gag in… was that the last episode?

TONI: Oh, I thought that was very funny. I liked that. I liked that. I think I mostly liked that because I got to see Nano in that absolutely amazing prince outfit.

PETER: Yeah, I think it kinda started out where I was like “Uh-oh,” but then I do think it wrapped up nicely by having the mom go, “Well, if he is unconscious, then we need to bring him back by having Ai Nano dress up like a prince and then kiss him to bring him back to life.” [Chuckles] I was like, “Wow, that’s some amazing internal logic. That’s very good.”

TONI: And it really fakes you out because it makes you think that she’s having sex with him.

PETER: Yes. Oh, yeah, before that. Yeah, the scene implies that they’re having sex, when she’s dressing him up in a schoolgirl outfit.

TONI: Right. Which is an interesting bait-and-switch. Morally neutral. I don’t have any feelings about it other than being like, “Okay, that happened.” Wasn’t particularly funny. And then of course there’s the whole peeping thing, but, you know, it’s like… Yeah, all the girls have an arc where they peep on Rentaro. You know? Yeah. That’s what happens in the last episode.

PETER: Yeah. And it does a lot of interesting stuff with romcom tropes, but at the same time, it is using those romcom tropes and ends up falling into the pitfall, even if it kinda fakes you out at the end.

TONI: Yeah. And the thing is that I think the show is saying some interesting things about polyamory, and about polyamory and specifically toxic monogamy culture, or how monogamy culture can— And gosh, I know I’m using a very discourse-laden term but… For example, Hakari’s mom’s arc being that if she started having sex with other people or dating other people, that’s like betraying the memory of her dead boyfriend. Which, I thought it was interesting to think about how ideas of jealousy and monogamy and “You can only love one person” prevent a person from grieving and mourning and fully moving on. I thought that was a really interesting idea. But again, the show is… As I said, it’s not a poorly written show; it’s just a show I would not recommend to Anime Feminist people.

CAITLIN: Or you wouldn’t recommend it on a feminist level.

TONI: Exactly. That would be a better way of putting it, yeah. On a feminist level, it doesn’t work, no.

CAITLIN: But that doesn’t preclude it from being a good show.

TONI: Yeah. And it also doesn’t preclude it from certain people in the Anime Feminist community liking it.

CAITLIN: Okay. So let’s move forward to The Yuzuki Family’s Four Sons, which I have also… I am also the only one who watched it. This one, I also need to still watch the last episode. Still a lovely show. One of my best of the year, honestly. Not a lot new to say about it this time around.

So let’s move up to Tearmoon Empire, which I am somehow the only person on this show watching it.

PETER: To be fair, I’ve watched the opening like 300 times.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles] I mean, the opening does kind of give the vibe that you’re looking for.

PETER: It’s a great opening.

CAITLIN: Yeah. What can I say about Tearmoon Empire? It’s a really fun show. It continued to be fun to the end. Political revolution and what’s going on there… It was a little disappointing to me that, spoilers, it didn’t turn out that the revolution was just because Mia was a crappy empress, because I personally think that that is a perfectly valid reason and if she doesn’t want to be executed, she should learn to be a better empress, which is kind of what the show is about, except that it was about her selfishly trying to avoid death and just becoming an empress in the process and fooling everyone into thinking that she was really smart and canny when she was actually just pretty dopey—which is fun! It’s a fun premise. I don’t feel like I have a whole ton to say about it. You know? Maybe someone will disagree. Maybe someone will have more to say about it. I’m sure it’ll come up in our recommendations.

PETER: It’s a good romp.

CAITLIN: So… Yeah. Yeah, it’s fun! It’s super fun. It’s got pretty solid animation. I really enjoy Mia. It’s funny. It’s not the kind of series that I think is going to stick in my head very well. It’s… I don’t want to say it’s standard, because I like it more than a lot of other series. But it has the same kind of tone as a lot of the Regency-ish, villainess-ish series that are out these days. Do you know what I mean? Like MagiRevo, for example. It’s kind of the same vibes, where there’s this big cast of background characters and they’re all really fun but they’ve got the shallow characterization. It’s got that art style. You know, the main character is a total doofus, no thoughts, head empty, and everyone adores her. You know?

PETER: Yeah.

CAITLIN: Yeah. It’s a good show. I recommend it.

So, next up, Peter, do you have anything to say about Shangri-La Frontier?

PETER: Not much. Maybe I should bring up that it turns out that— Promoted in the OP and all the key art stuff is one guy and two girls, who are kinda like the central trio of the series. They finally introduced the short-haired, blonde, punchy girl who, it turns out… I don’t know if I need to give… is played by a boy, and the reveal for that is very matter of fact. There’s no jokes about it or anything. They’re just saying, like, “Oh, he just likes to play girl characters,” and even explains it to an NPC like “You shouldn’t judge people based on appearances,” which I don’t know if I want to say is exceptional or just exceeded what I was expecting to be the reveal when you’re given that knowledge. So there’s that. Otherwise, it’s just a lot of “Did you like Sword Art Online? Well, we’re doing that too.”

CAITLIN: Oh, well, I didn’t like Sword Art Online, so…

PETER: I gotta give it credit where credit’s due. That’s what I’ll say. The end.

CAITLIN: So, next up, I am going to monologue a little bit more for a couple more shows, it looks like, about Paradox Live: The Animation, which is not a good show.

PETER: Wait, is this a new revelation? I remember you saying it had a lot of good characters.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles] No, it’s not a—

PETER: [crosstalk] Was it… It had a lot of good characters but it wasn’t interesting, was the problem?

CAITLIN: Yeah, it’s not a new revelation. It is definitely the same thing that I have been saying since the beginning. But I did watch the last episode, minutes before recording. And it just— [Sighs] It is an ensemble show that does not know how to juggle its ensemble. If we have time, I’ll talk about Hypnosis Mic, because I can’t help comparing the two. They’re both about rap battles, literal rap battles! That’s all there is to— I cannot help the comparisons. Hypnosis Mic knows how to juggle its ensemble a lot better. It still had the issue where the main characters were the most boring group, that honestly had the least going on. I don’t understand why they’re the main characters. In the end, the big reveal is about an entirely different group. And they literally just wander up and then they say some platitudes, and everything is okay. 

The ending twist comes— There’s an ending twist about Cozmez, the twins, or… Yeah, I think they’re twins, which I guess is decently foreshadowed. But there’s a whole thing about how this guy wants to use phantometal to merge everyone’s consciousnesses. Just… it’s the Instrumentality Project, slash, it’s Code Geass, slash, whatever. It’s the exact same conclusion as, like, every single other series that does something similar, where they say, “We have to think about our group and love our friends. But at the same time, we are all individuals and we don’t want to become an actual literal hive mind. And thus, we must fight against it.” Which, I mean, that’s fine. That’s pretty much correct. I don’t want to become a hive mind, despite what people may say about us at Anime Feminist.


CAITLIN: But it’s just… it’s not original. The characters that I’m interested in never really get their arcs. My boy Hokusai and Saimon, two characters who are just so made for me in different ways, their backstories aren’t revealed. One of them’s a widower! I love widowers! They’re so sad in such an appealing way! [Chuckles] So, Paradox Live, not very good. It’s a pretty show. I’m disappointed. I wanted it to be good.

But you know what is good? Overtake! But I don’t actually have that much to talk about with regards to this show, with this particular discussion. I do think it is legitimately a really, really good show. I didn’t put it in my top five for the season, but it is definitely one of the best of the season. It’s got a lot to say about recovering from trauma. Even— It talks a bit— So, the main character, Kouya, he has trauma. He has a hard time taking pictures of human subjects because when the big tsunami hit in 2011, he took a picture of this girl who was about to get swallowed up, and he got a ton of criticism. And it’s the same stuff that photojournalists always get. “Why didn’t you help them? Why did you just sit there and take pictures when someone was dying?” even though— I personally think photojournalists do a really important job. It’s important to document these kinds of things. And what was he going to do to save this little girl from a tsunami? He would have just gotten swallowed up, too. But people don’t think that way. They just think, “Why didn’t you save her?” and—

PETER: [crosstalk] “I would’ve saved her.”

CAITLIN: [Chuckles] Yeah. “I would’ve saved her! I would’ve leapt in the path of this huge wall of water that killed hundreds, thousands, and dodged… and I would’ve done a roll, I would’ve tucked and rolled, and I would have been okay!” So, a lot of the plot is about him recovering from that in parallel with Haruka moving forward from his own father’s death and his survivor guilt—because it’s always survivor guilt. And it’s just a really beautiful show. I did have a thought as I watched: oh, man, people are gonna ship these two, aren’t they? Even though one’s a full-ass adult and one is a high school student. Goddammit, people are gonna ship this. Which, you know, shippers are gonna ship.

PETER: I have a similar complaint later on in this podcast.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles] To its credit, it didn’t feel like it was doing the Tiger & Bunny ship-teasing thing. It felt more like— There’s not just a simple way to sum up their relationship. It’s two people who needed each other, whose problems worked in such a way where they were able to lift each other up. It is a friendship, but it’s something more than that, but it’s not romantic. It doesn’t feel really familial either. It’s not mentor and… mentee (I’ve been watching 30 Rock). It’s just, you know, they have this bond that isn’t really easily definable, which I think is really interesting.

PETER: Yeah. Kinda like Sweetness and Lightning.

CAITLIN: Yeah! Kinda like that. I would say, that’s a fair… It’s a decent parallel. It’s a decent parallel.

So let’s move up towards My New Boss Is Goofy. Toni.

TONI: Boss Is Goofy is… I mean, it’s kinda the same as where we were in the midseason, where it’s just very sweet, very ship-teasy, but still queer people do exist in this world, as represented by Kinjo. Love him to death. He’s still flirty and fruity, which I appreciate as a combination. And the two co-protagonists are still essentially a married couple living together. The show ends and— I mean, spoiler alert. He moves out but into the next-door apartment, so they can still basically act like a married couple, only just come over whenever, like they’re a sitcom found family. I still find the senior boss to be a one-note character who’s annoying, and I kinda wish that he would get over himself, because his whole shtick is any time other people are having joy, he’s like, “But nobody will ever love me.” And then someone else has to be like “I’ll love you!” for him to not just fall into a void of depression. Which, I don’t know. I don’t want to blame people for their own mental illness, but also if that’s your entire character, I think this show needs to do a better job of writing that character.

CAITLIN: Do something with that self-loathing.

TONI: Right! Because—

CAITLIN: Like, do some— Yeah.

TONI: Because I think on one hand, there does need to be room for characters with mental illness in shows, that just kind of exist within the show and it doesn’t have to be fixed for them to be part of the found family in the show, right? But I would like to see some character development, goddammit! But anyways, Boss Is Goofy is fine. I like it. It’s a good show. It made my recommendation list. Yeah. I still stand by my review where I said it’s fujoshi bait.

CAITLIN: That’s a hot take.

TONI: I mean, is it, though, when literally there’s a character in the first episode who is like our point-of-view… not a point-of-view character, but basically an audience surrogate lady who looks at the two co-protagonists [and is] like, “Oh, my God! Shirosaki’s harassing him!” with a big smile on her face. Like, it’s not even hiding it. Anyways, moving on.

CAITLIN: Moving on to Migi & Dali, which I believe you two both watched and has been recommended to me because apparently it handles the twin thing actually really well.

TONI: Yeah. Tell me your perspective, Peter. I’ve been talking a lot.

PETER: Oh, I’ll just say, yeah, Caitlin, I was specifically thinking of you in the later development where… You know, I know your feelings toward twins, especially identical twins, and it seemed like the last arc was kind of made for you in regards to how it treats the development of their relationship and both of them as individuals.

CAITLIN: I mean, is it more interesting than “Everyone thinks of these two twins as the same, but they’re actually different people and they have to forge their own identities”?

PETER: Well, everyone does literally think of them as the same because they’ve been masquerading as a single person and switching places. But I think what it comes down to is it’s them both beginning to realize that they’ve been… they’re really… I mean, obviously they’re very close, and they’ve really been relying on each other because that’s how they’ve survived up until this point, and they had this singular goal that’s defined all of their actions. But as the story develops, I think they begin to want different things in relation to that goal, and that begins to pull them apart because one of them is still bent on revenge and the other one kind of decides that revenge isn’t as important to him, because revenge to them was a means of achieving a new happiness, right? 

And their methods… They start to argue a lot about their methods and what they’re willing to do or sacrifice to achieve this goal. And that really creates a rift between the two of them. So, for the first time they’re fighting. And eventually they get to the point where they just go, “Obviously, we can’t work together. We’re too different now. We can’t work together on this goal anymore.” And they have to come around to appreciating their differences and… I wouldn’t say “treating each other as different people” but recognizing that there’s value in their differences, where previously they found so much power in being able to collaborate and kind of obfuscate their different identities with other people. So I think what shines through really strongly is them saying, “Well, us being brothers, the most important thing is that we want each other to be happy no matter what, and we are going to be very different people, so no matter how different we become, we still have that connection.” So, I think you’ll like it, if you watch it.

TONI: I’ll also say, I think the twin thing… That arc of differentiation is a little more thematically resonant because their whole becoming the same person was a coping mechanism and survival strategy for surviving the organized abandonment they were experiencing as, I guess, adoptive children formerly in the foster care system. So, it was very… I found it really thematically resonant.

PETER: Yeah, the whole conceit of them even pretending to be one person is that only one person is going to get adopted so it’s the only way to stay together. So, I don’t think it was like they were doing it for fun or anything. They were just like, “This is how we don’t get separated permanently.” [Chuckles] Outside of that, it’s kind of difficult to analyze, at least from where I’m sitting, just because the ending… I mean, I loved it. But it just got so out there and really leaned into this crazy switch between this ludicrous, almost humorous, surrealist style and this pretty horrific narrative and events, like genuine people getting murdered on screen, and going between those two near the end. I think it really balanced out well. The ending was really great, the last three or four episodes, but I don’t know if I have much to say critically about it, besides the fact that it was just huge.

TONI: Yeah, I will say it was like no other anime I’ve ever seen. And I mean that in the best way possible. Absolutely fantastic anime. I think that the development of Migi and Dali as characters and how they change is incredibly compelling. I think Dali is definitely trans. There’s a whole thing where he likes to crossdress.

PETER: Even at the very end, the epilogue, they just fit it in again. Yeah.

TONI: Yeah, they do. Sally is part of the family! Yeah, no, I really love Migi & Dali. It’s making my top-five-of-the-year list. Most of my thoughts about what’s so amazing about it are in the midseason podcast. You can listen to that. In short, it’s just a really powerful investigation of how people cope with organized abandonment and then how do people come together to resist that and try to find a way out. I love it so much.

PETER: Oh, it might be worth mentioning— I feel like some of the— I don’t really… This is just something I want to bring up. I don’t really feel very strongly about this. But I do think it kind of framed the villain as being like—

TONI: [crosstalk] Oh, yeah. We do have to talk about that.

PETER: —a woman who’s kind of twisted by the fact that she’s “barren” and can’t give birth to children, which kind of turns her into this monster who brings about all the events in the plot, which is just, yeah, not too great, but I don’t think it made it a big part of the…

TONI: Well, there’s that, but also, I think what ameliorates that a bit is a couple of things. I think, first of all, it’s very clear that she is extremely invested in particular kinds of ideals of womanhood, right, and saw her job as to kind of mentor other people in those ideals of womanhood. Right? And then eventually, that kind of role becomes this, almost, “I must make the entire town conform to my idea of the nuclear family.”

PETER: Yeah, yeah. It was kind of part and parcel to her perfectionism.

TONI: Yeah. Migi & Dali is really good. Watch it. [Chuckles]

CAITLIN: So, we’re moving on. Are there anything in the notes about I’m Giving the Disgraced Noble Lady I Rescued a Crash Course in Naughtiness?

TONI: No. No.

CAITLIN: Anything to say about that? Nope? Alright. So—

TONI: [dreary] Ah, Frieren.

CAITLIN: Let’s move up to Frieren, which I am still behind on. Got through the demon arc.

TONI: [Obscured by crosstalk]

CAITLIN: I did get through the demon arc. I feel like that’s been discussed a lot. I just want to say, I think it’s a potentially really interesting concept, but they didn’t follow through with it as much as they should have. They let too much human society creep into how the demons interacted with each other in the world, and therefore it didn’t come through, I think, and had a lot of the same issues that every fantasy series has with evil races.

TONI: Yep.

CAITLIN: Yep. Peter, do you have anything new to say about it so it’s not just me rehashing what we’ve talked about?

PETER: Well, bleeding a little bit into the second cour here, I do feel like it’s kind of pulled back on… I mean, it still comes up, this thing— The basic formula’s kind of just become sort of a humorous adventure series where there’s kind of goofy interactions between the characters mixed with more serious moments, like there’s this dance scene that everybody’s been talking about between Fern and Stark, where obviously they’re doing some romance between the characters. But I think it’s kind of sliding backward into more of a standard adventure series, which if you like the interactions between the characters and of course the gorgeous animation and stuff, and with the occasional reference to Himmel, then, I mean, it’s still good. Very recently, they’ve moved into… they’re taking some sort of magical exam to get a certification so that they can cross some sort of threshold, which just feels like it’s about to enter a shounen-esque tournament arc, which I’m not too enthused about.

TONI: [Groans]

PETER: But that is all to say, I think these themes about temporality and mortality that it was focusing on in the early season—and I mean, it’s kinda hard to continue just making this series just about that—are kind of taking a backseat to just present-day adventures, the party being kinda funny and offbeat a little bit and having little fight scenes.

TONI: [crosstalk] So this is no To Your Eternity.

PETER: No. Yeah, yeah. To Your Eternity definitely had a thesis that it was sticking with. Frieren, I think, is just kinda like… It’s fantasy adventure now. Yeah.

TONI: Yeah. I’m gonna be really honest. I’m through the demon arc now, and I just genuinely don’t think that Frieren is as deep as people think it is. And that’s all I really have to say.

CAITLIN: No. I like it, although my anime club did decide to drop it. We were just too far behind. [Sighs] I’m probably going to try to catch up.

PETER: I mean, it’s fun.

CAITLIN: So let’s— I did drop Firefighter Daigo. It was just too boring. It was so boring. And no one’s watching it, so I can’t hear whether or not it’s gotten better.

But let’s talk about Bullbuster for a moment. There are a lot of series, a lot of stories, a lot of anime and otherwise, where the main enemy is a big evil corporation. Right?

TONI: Yeah.

CAITLIN: And the answer is always a plucky group of individuals have to take them down somehow. Bullbuster is kind of that basic idea, but as the show goes, it delves more into the structural reasons that corporations are really hard to knock down. Turns out when a company has a lot of money, they have a lot of tactics available to them to avoid consequences, such as buying out smaller companies that would oppose them, such as denying access to resources, such as having the control and the ability to cover up their actions. And that’s what Bullbuster is about in the end.

PETER: Okay, so, not a happy ending, I’m gathering?

CAITLIN: It’s on a relatively small scale. The main conflict is on a relatively small scale. It’s this one island and this one plant, so they are able to overcome the enemy through [Inhales sharply], shall we say, direct action to some, maybe ecoterrorism to others.

PETER: Hell yeah. I love Final Fantasy VII.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles] It’s good. It’s really good. So, it’s not a— The bad guys don’t win, but also there’s this feeling of “Well, we took care of this problem, but they’ve managed to weasel their way out of real consequences still.”

PETER: Okay. I can respect that.

CAITLIN: Yeah. “And they are still a problem.”

PETER: That’s real.

CAITLIN: Yeah. “But we’re going to enjoy this one victory that we’ve gotten.”

PETER: Yeah, so many of these series, I think, don’t know what to do, because they kind of have a recognition of that, where they want to talk about a problem and they don’t have any ideas for a solution. So it just ends like Deca-Dence, where they just ask the government nicely to completely change itself, and they’re just like, “I was just waiting for somebody to be polite.” So, yeah, I think this kind of ending… I respect that more, where you’re like, “I don’t have the answers but we can take small victories.” Yeah.

CAITLIN: Yeah, because these series want to tackle problems that don’t have solutions! Right? We haven’t figured out the solutions in the real world, so you can’t just create the solution out of thin air in fiction if you’re creating something that has a lot of parallels to the real world.

PETER: Or at least the solution we do have, maybe they wouldn’t be cool with us broadcasting it on television! [Chuckles]


TONI: [crosstalk] Yeah. Was just thinking that.

PETER: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Mm-hm.

CAITLIN: Yeah, no, it really goes into a lot of the tools that big companies have in their toolbox. Also, charismatic CEOs who are really good at saying the right things.

PETER: I do think there’s value in kind of… I’m referencing a podcast, Citations Needed… but kind of revealing the tools that corporations use to misinform and manipulate public sentiment or get themselves out of trouble so that they can be recognized in the real world, too.

CAITLIN: Yeah. I do want to do a quick update about the thing that I was critical of in the midseason, where the one character who was a big stickler for the rules was kind of being written as a pain in the butt. He was right. Like, he was still a pain in the butt, but he did a lot of malicious compliance, which is another tool in the activist’s toolbox that you don’t see a lot of in these kinds of stories. Yeah, no, it was really cool. It’s not a good series to watch if you want just “Grr, fighting mechas.” And the idea that a bipedal robot is somehow more useful than a tank is silly. But it’s still— I really, really ended up liking what it was doing. I can’t think of anything I’ve seen like it in anime. One thing I think it could have gone into more is how governments are also complicit if not active participants in these kinds of things. Like, the government was very hands off with this, although maybe that’s the political situation in Japan. I don’t know too much about corporate law there. Yeah, no, Bullbuster, really good show.

Another show that has good ideas is Our Dating Story: The Experienced You and the Inexperienced Me. A lot of what I feel about it is the same as what I said in the midseason podcast, which is that it has a good heart. It’s sweet. It covers a lot of… It talks openly about consent in relationships—and not just consent but enthusiastic consent—and how sex interacts with a lot of aspects of relationships. It’s just so boring! Runa and Ryuto are just such boring characters!

PETER: It’d be cool if this story about consent had leads with chemistry—or interesting leads.


TONI: [crosstalk] Yeah, because then— I want to believe that these people conceivably want to fuck each other.


CAITLIN: There’s a line in the last episode where someone’s like, “Yeah, Runa, you and Ryuto really seem to be the perfect match.” It’s like, yeah, because they’re the two most boring people in the world! [Sighs] There’s a few other things thrown in for drama, like there’s the whole drama with her twin sister. They want to Parent Trap their parents. I want the character writing of My Love Story, which is another very, very sweet romance but with really engaging, fun characters, grafted on to the storyline of this. I feel like that could be a great series. Also, enough with the sweet, innocent gals, y’all. Come on. Gal subculture is so much more interesting than that. Let’s actually do something with it.

PETER: Putting out a call?

CAITLIN: Yeah. Moving forward, do we have any notes about I’m in Love with the Villainess?

TONI: We do. I’ll go ahead and read those. So, Vrai says, about I’m in Love with the Villainess: “Functionally I’m at the same place I was at midseason. This is a big old heartfelt mess by a queer creator feeling things out, which makes it compelling. I’ll pick up the light novel eventually. There is unfortunately a bonus warning now for romanticized sibling incest, which is discussed but not shown. I rolled my eyes pretty hard and it definitely took me back to ‘80s, ‘90s manga where artists got away with depicting positive queer romance by lumping it under the veneer of sexy forbidden love, which usually had to put up with some incest ships, too, because of that. I don’t think I’m going to recommend the anime, though. It’s visually stiff, it doesn’t cut anything from the source material that would smooth out the adaptation and make it stand on its own better, and it ends when it feels like it’s finally starting to get into the good stuff. My understanding is this is because the second light novel’s very thick and pretty dense, so they really pored over Book 1 and barely got into Book 2, but it makes for a frustrating viewing experience. Probably go for the light novel or manga instead.” That is Vrai’s thoughts on Love with the Villainess. We can move on.

CAITLIN: Y’all, we can talk about Shy now. Unless we have notes about Stardust Telepath.

TONI: We do?

CAITLIN: But it doesn’t seem like anyone really— Do we? It doesn’t seem like anyone really— I didn’t see anyone discussing that show. [Sighs] Sorry, yuri fans. It seems like this one just didn’t get people’s attention.

TONI: I wrote the recommendation for it, so you can read my recommendation. Just generally, good show. I like it. I’ve written a lot about it. You can read any of my writing if you want to know my thoughts on it. Peter, what were your thoughts on Shy?

PETER: I don’t know. I… [Sighs] I have mixed feelings about the series. I definitely think some of the side character stories are really good, especially Pesha’s thing with her mom and… I mean, the big climactic battle of the first season took, what was that, like four or five episodes altogether. I thought that was really good, although on the same note, it had a lot of emotional impact, but also when I think about it abstractly, I feel like it was very ridiculous and emotionally manipulative with her mom having the most tragic thing that could possibly happen ever happening to her.

TONI: Do you mean the cake shock moment?

PETER: Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean her whole, like… orphan into single mom that can’t feed her kid into being given a cake on Christmas miraculously so she could feed her hungry daughter and then being basically just murdered by a homeless man before she can give her daughter a Christmas cake.

TONI: [crosstalk] That sucks, yeah.

PETER: Yeah. So—

TONI: I will say, though, the— Yeah, continue, continue with what you were saying.

PETER: Yeah, it’s just like… It kind of reminded me of… Oh, what’s that series about…? There’s a series about a psychic girl that the lead in… It was a meme for a while because somebody had posted up a video where it’s just her backstory, which is the first half of the first episode and is the most ridiculously tragic series of events you could possibly imagine, where at a certain point you’re just like, “I’m being emotionally manipulated right now.” So, yeah, I mean, it worked, it had a lot of impact, but it’s still unclear what this is feeding into. 

And… See, I don’t know what to say. I feel like I might need to watch the rest of it before I can really make a determination on whether all this is worth it. I can definitely— It worked from the emotional angle. I think it was very well presented, and I was like, “Dang, this is really sad. I’m really sad.” And it had the catharsis at the end when the fight kinda… you know, when they solve her problem and show her that she was loved and all that. Unfortunately, Shy, herself, I don’t think is a very… I don’t know if there’s a lot to her. She’s like, “Yes, I have anxiety,” but I don’t think the series is very interested in exploring that at the end of the day. So, yeah, I don’t know where I fall with it. I’m gonna check out Season 2. I’m interested in the whole conceit of the villain, depending upon what the villain’s actual plan is and how they bring that out. I hate— I feel like I say this a lot, but I kinda need to finish the show before I want to pass any judgment, you know?

TONI: Yeah, I mean, I don’t entirely agree in terms of the… I have very complex feelings about poverty porn, for example, because, having worked with a lot of students who are in foster care or in those sorts of situations, while on one hand I do think that— I said this in my recommendation, that the view of foster care and orphanages in the show is extremely rosy in the sense of while the kids are there. Group homes are not a fun place to be in real life. Really not fun.

CAITLIN: What? You mean when you get a bunch of children who have been through terrible stuff and put them all in a place together with insufficient adult supervision, bad things can happen?

TONI: Yeah, you don’t say! And so, I think that that frustrated me, but in terms of the idea of after people lose even the tiny little support that they did have… because the foster care system does provide a slight amount of support for these kids, right, versus being completely on their own, which is what happens when foster kids… often, when they turn 18, the transitional process is often very nonexistent. I thought that that was honest, the idea that losing that can be a devastating moment for a young adult and then can lead to a cycle of poverty. Now, in terms of hunger and stuff, I don’t know much about Russia, I don’t think this is necessarily supposed to be representative of a specific… I mean, theoretically, it is Russia, right? I don’t know much about Russia’s social safety net. I can’t speak to the verisimilitude of that or whatever. 

But, you know… Again, this is why I have complex feelings about quote-unquote “poverty porn,” especially as somebody— I’ve never been in poverty. I didn’t grow up in poverty, even if I have very close family who did, like my mom, so I feel unqualified to really speak to how poverty is represented on screen. Anyways, yeah, I… Complicated feeling, but overall, I like the show. We can move on.

CAITLIN: Okay. Alright, then. None of us watched it, but I believe we have some notes about Precure Full Bloom?

TONI: We just have the recommendation. If you want to know more about Precure Full Bloom, take a look at Dee’s recommendation. It should probably be up, I’d imagine, by the time that this podcast goes up. So, Dee has a recommendation for that.

CAITLIN: Alright, let’s talk about The Apothecary Diaries. [Sighs] I feel like Apothecary Diaries needs an entire episode to itself to really fully talk about. Maybe I’m just saying that because… that’s been true of other stuff we’ve talked about but I’m watching the Apothecary Diaries.

PETER: [Chuckles] Okay.

CAITLIN: I just… I really love this show.

PETER: Yeah, that’s great!

CAITLIN: I love how it kinda delves into the idea of the power relationships between these characters, between Jinshi and Maomao and how Maomao is so aware of it all the time. But he’s not, because he has the luxury of not being aware of it. His life doesn’t hinge on not offending Maomao, as much as she might want to kill him sometimes. Maomao’s just a super-duper fun character. I love her. I love Aoi Yuki’s character for it. I am going to drop a hot take here: I’m totally okay with shipping Jinshi and Maomao.

PETER: [groaning] Oh!

CAITLIN: No. I genuinely think—

TONI: [crosstalk] You’re gonna make so many people in the Discord mad.

PETER: I literally foreshadowed I hate their relationship. [Chuckles]

CAITLIN: [crosstalk] I’m okay with it! I’m okay with it. Honestly, I sincerely think they are the endgame ship.

PETER: Ugh. I don’t like it.

CAITLIN: Even if you don’t personally like it, I do think that at the endgame they are going to get together by the end of the show.

TONI: So we better get used to it?

PETER: Well, I think a lot of people agree with you.

CAITLIN: Er, not the show; by the end of the story.

PETER: I think anime trending’s top romance of the season by fan vote was a tie between Himmel and Frieren, and Jinshi and Maomao, I think. And I was like—

CAITLIN: Wasn’t it Fern and Stark?

PETER: Uh… I don’t know if they’d done the dance thing by the time the votes were in. But you could be right.

CAITLIN: I just don’t think Himmel and Frieren is a particularly interesting ship.

PETER: I remember just seeing the tie and going like, “I don’t like either of these.” [Chuckles] Just the power imbalance. I looked it up. They’re actually pretty similar age although it does not seem that way, looking at the show. She’s like two feet shorter than him or something.

CAITLIN: He’s tall and she’s short! You know, he’s had a lifetime of good nutrition and good sleep. She has not.

PETER: [crosstalk] In general, her size compared to most characters makes me think that she’s very young compared to almost everyone else in the cast, like they are adults and she is not.

CAITLIN: She’s just short! She’s just short! Short people exist.

PETER: That’s true. They do exist.

CAITLIN: I have friends who are couples who are over a foot apart! You know? [Chuckles]

TONI: It’s so funny. As a gay Asian person, I’m always surprised at how many people who I date who are actually my height, given I’m 5’4”. And I’m like, “Oh, yeah, because I often date Asians, so…” A lot of us are short.

PETER: [crosstalk] We take it for granted? [Chuckles]

TONI: What’d you say?

PETER: We’re taking it for granted over here, yeah.

CAITLIN: Yeah, yeah, yeah, Mr. Six Feet Tall.

PETER: [Chuckles] Showing my privilege, yeah. [Chuckles]

CAITLIN: Yeah. Toni and I are the same height.

TONI: Yes, we are. I feel like— Okay, we’ll talk more later, off pod.


TONI: Alright, shall we move…? Do we still want to keep talking about this, or…?

CAITLIN: I’m trying to think about what there is to say other than the discussion we’ve had about the power relationships. And I do think if there is going to be a reason not to ship them, I think the power imbalance between the two of them is probably the most valid one.

PETER: Oh, also the fact that she does not seem interested at all and he keeps coming on to her and she just is trying to slither out from under him all the time. [Chuckles]

CAITLIN: Listen. Listen, listen, listen, we could get into that. We could get into that. I’m choosing not to get into that because that will turn into a whole debate. [Chuckles] I mean, there are plenty of reasons not to ship them. I think the most concrete one is the power imbalance, because that is also such a thing in the show. But yeah, it’s a really fantastic show. [Sighs] I’ve said that so many times.

PETER: I feel like there’s gonna be more to say about the show, because it’s continuing, in the next midseason wrap-up, based on some of the new story arcs it’s getting into, because it seems to be wanting to pay more attention to current and new members like the courtesans that their whole court surrounds. So I think there will be more thematic insights to look into, probably, as some new plot developments come up.

CAITLIN: I do have to say that—I’m an episode behind—the tall girl with the eyebrows is really hot. [Sighs] 

Anyway, so, [Chuckles] let’s move on because there are a couple of sequels and carryovers that we’re gonna want to touch on. So, 16bit Sensation: Another Layer.

PETER: I have not basically watched it since the last cast. I think Alex brought it up. I think it was not actually interested in the… What seemed great about it at first was it was kind of like a celebration of a medium of art and wanted to delve into a person’s relationship with that art by allowing her to travel to the past to see it created in real time. But it seems, the way things have developed in the plot, it’s more of a weird… It’s about its own artifice basically, like what-ifs based on if the past changed, so it’s like “What if America was the one creating AAA visual novels?” or something like that.

CAITLIN: Mm! I did see American Saber.

PETER: [crosstalk] Yeah, American Fate? Yeah, yeah, yeah. And her relationship with this dude ultimately affecting how he developed the games. So, I feel like the main appeal, where you have this woman who’s a fan of the visual novel genre… It’s not about her actually getting to interact with and better appreciate this medium or get new insights out of it based on her experiences in the past. It’s more like, what if she went into the past and changed the future and then, whoa, the future’s so weird? And also, she teaches a guy a very important lesson.

TONI: [Chuckles]

PETER: And that causes him to change the future of the visual novel genre. So, I have not caught up, but I don’t know if I want to anymore.

CAITLIN: So, I do have a question. What I thought was really interesting… because from what I could tell, it was mostly focused on bishoujo games. Do they do anything with the main character being a girl who loves bishoujo games? Because I know that is a type of person; they’re just not the main audience. Do they do anything in particular with it, like why she is so drawn to these stories that are about, largely, getting to know girls in a romantic context and/or fucking them?

PETER: I don’t really think there’s anything in regards to— So, her appreciation for the game— Well, first of all, she has experience with the genre and that’s why she started working in it. It’s just that the industry has changed. So, the types of games she wanted to work on had very ambitious plots, and while it has beautiful girls, it’s also got a lot going on with the story and the worldbuilding and cool visuals and stuff. So, it’s like she’s behind the times, her own times, and wants to bring back the way things used to be. As far as her appreciation for the girls, she definitely likes the art style, and they do get into a bit about how, since there was fewer pixels on the screen, you would create the illusion of curves based on the pixel arrangements and the way they would draw the thing and then scan it in black and white and then color it in on screen. So, the art form, she has an appreciation for. She definitely likes the girl character designs. She herself likes drawing cute girls and stuff. But I don’t think they really get into anything like… Well, I don’t know what to…

CAITLIN: Right, or even just… not necessarily about her being attracted to women, but just if there’s any way that her gender interacts with her love of the game. But it sounds like there isn’t.

PETER: Some of the people that she meets in the… I think they did put on display the fact that that industry does have a lot of women working in it, specifically female artists. So, she’s kind of part of a… They don’t really get into it. It’s just what you see is that a lot of women want to draw cute girls and have been and have been an integral part of this industry. They’re behind a lot of the iconic designs from games that you recognize because Aniplex owns a lot of these properties, so they specifically call out titles that were produced by Aniplex—or at least the anime adaptations were. So, yeah, you can kinda see that, for sure.

CAITLIN: Alright. Okay, cool. That is something that I was wondering about, so thanks for talking on that a bit, Peter.

So, that wraps up our discussion of all of the one-cour shows. Let’s touch very quickly on a few sequels and carryovers. Toni, I know that you wanted to talk about Zom 100. I’ll give room for you to do that at the end. I just want to check in about the things that I was watching.

Hypnosis Mic season 2. If you like the first season, you’ll probably like this one too. The rapping gets better overall. There are too many characters. There’s just too many characters now. It’s so many boys! It’s 18 boys, not counting the antagonists. It’s so many boys, not counting the antagonists!

PETER: Can’t believe I’m saying this, but too many boys.

CAITLIN: It is too many boys! I like… One of the new groups, their musical style might be my favorite. It’s got kind of an electro swing vibe to it. I’m not a big rap person. So, yeah, Hypnosis Mic continues to be fun. I was really hoping that the world government would get a chance to rap but they don’t. Oh, well. Maybe next time.

Spy × Family, the cruise ship arc is awesome. I really wish we had more time to talk about that, because I think, from the perspective of the site, the cruise ship arc has the most to talk about, about Yor’s relationship with her work and what she does and the cost of raising a child in this situation. She gets to have some really cool fights, which is great because she does not do that for most of the show. And I just want to say, they should animate more fights where one of the characters is wearing a fit-and-flare dress because it looks really cool. There’s so much motion with those skirts you could do. They go out when you spin, they swoosh… Animators take note: fit-and-flare dresses, great for dramatic motion.

And I think that’s it for me. Peter, did you have anything that you wanted to check in with very quickly?

PETER: Agree on Spy × Family. I think it’s great that Yor got a focus arc where she’s being introspective, because I think a lot of the time she just ends up being kinda goofy, awkward, or silly drunk. So, it was a great arc.

Ancient Magus’ Bride sure took a long time to get there, but as is typical with Yamazaki stories, it really nailed the ending. Big moment of catharsis. I’m doing a write-up for 2023 recs where you can read a bit more if you’re interested. But dammit, this show still got its claws in me. That’s all I’ve got. Toni?

CAITLIN: Toni, you really wanted to talk about Zom 100.

TONI: Yeah, the reason I want—

PETER: Finish us off here. Your soapbox.

CAITLIN: [crosstalk] We’re gonna give you the rest of the time of the show.

TONI: Which is not much, but I’ll take it. So, yeah, Zom 100, the reason I really want to talk about it is because there’s absolutely no way that I’m recommending it…

PETER: [Chuckles]

TONI: … and so I’m not gonna have any other opportunities to talk about it, so I have to talk about it now. Now here’s the thing: I was going back and forth about whether or not I’d recommend it. I was really going back and forth because I think that a lot of the problems towards the beginning of the show are really ameliorated in terms of, like, the female cast gets centered a lot more… The middle arc is particularly fantastic, where Akira kind of falls back into old habits. He gets kind of brainwashed into being back into his old boss’s cult, and I think this idea of workplace as cult is really interesting in the show. And it is very interested in how PTSD can make a person further susceptible to violence and exploitation in the workplace and otherwise, which I think is a very sophisticated analysis of how capitalism operates, which is to give us all this kind of collective PTSD around getting fired and make that experience such an experience of suffering that none of us ever fight back. So, I think that there’s a lot that the show does really well.

The problem… Here’s the problem. The show has such an intensity of hatred towards fat characters, and over and over again equates being thin and conventionally attractive with being morally righteous. Every single fat male— Every single predator character in the show, every time a character is— There’s this constant sense of sexual menace, especially, of the men, towards Shizuka and towards Akira’s love interest generally. Like, from Episode 1, Akira’s love interest is being sexually harassed by his boss, and then Shizuka gets harassed by— I mean, by the top-of-the-company boss, then Shizuka gets harassed by his old boss. And then in the end, there’s another character… who I’ll get into. But all of these characters who are predators are represented as fat. I do not think that’s a coincidence, especially given that all of the main characters in the show are extremely conventionally attractive—and thin, obviously. 

And then you get to the last few episodes, and there are some images in the last few episodes that just really typify what Da’Shaun Harrison talks about in Belly of the Beast as being anti-fatness as anti-blackness. The way that one of the predatory characters lips are animated in this kinda grotesquely swollen way mirrors this kind of blackface imagery and this extreme idea of blackness and fatness as sexual predation. It’s really grotesque and really violently anti-fat and arguably drawing upon anti-black imagery, because that character is a little darker skinned and has braids in their hair, which kinda degenders them. So it’s just incredibly violent in its hatred towards fat characters. And I just couldn’t in good conscience recommend a show that is so blatant in such a way. 

Yep, and I just needed to say that somewhere, because it really frustrated me because otherwise I really like the show! But the more that I thought about it, the more I thought about the image of these swollen lips that are symbolic of his sexual menace, the more it just became obvious I could not recommend it.

CAITLIN: [Inhales sharply] Yeah, that’s no good.

TONI: Yeah! I mean, it’s anti-fat, it’s anti-black, it’s all kinds of different things, right?

PETER: Yeah, especially when combined with the dreads story arc, the dreadlocks.

TONI: Oh, my God! Yeah! Exactly! The show— And the thing about the dreads story arc is on its own I— You know, other characters kinda call him out as being like, “You know, that does not look good on you. It’s not a good look.” And he gets rid of it, right? But when you combine it with a character who has braids— Now, obviously, they don’t look like actual Black person braids, but that character being represented as this predator, it really just makes it obvious that the show has a problem. And again, this is another show where I’m like, I’ll probably keep watching, but through an intersectional feminist-minded lens, I cannot recommend it.

CAITLIN: Okay! Well, that was a lot of shows we just talked about, guys. Did you enjoy our discussions? Agree? Disagree? Watching something new because we recommended it? Let us know in the comments! Or even tell your friends! Say, “Hey, I learned about all this great new anime from this really cool podcast.” If you do so, would you consider please donating to our Patreon at We have three tiers, starting with just $1 a month, which gets you monthly staff updates and staff recommendations. Our $5 tier gets you access to our Discord and bonus podcasts. We also have a store, Our logo is amazing.

And if you want to learn more on Anime Feminist, you can find links to all of our socials. We’re also on Tumblr @animefeminist, Mastodon @animefeminist… I believe we have a Cohost now @animefeminist or a Bluesky @animefeminist. We no longer use Twitter. That site’s just become too much of a toxic waste dump.

So, that’s it. Thanks for enjoying our show. It’s so cold outside, guys. Stay warm.

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