Julianne Estur looks back on her younger days and how her love of Dawn helped her stop looking at girly interests as inherently shallow and worthless.
The team checks back in on the season at the one-quarter mark to see what’s improved and what’s crashed and burned.
Caitlin, Dee, and Meru begin their watchalong of the GAINAX-produced, Anno Hideaki-directed shoujo.
A prequel with many of the same strengths and weaknesses as the main series, but the crucial distinction of shuffling off the original’s bland male lead in favor of making Mary the protagonist.
Sometimes it takes a second bite to perfect things.
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AI: The Somnium Files Creator Has Some Profound Thoughts on Gender Identity (Anime News Network, Richard Eisenbeis)
Uchikoshi made some matter-of-fact tweets about a character being non-binary, right-wing gamers had corresponding meltdowns.
Uchikoshi has expressed support for the LGBTQ+ community in both of his AI: The Somnium Files games. In the original game, Mizuki tells Marble bar owner Mama, “The LGBT community is rich in sensibility, has excellent taste, and is full of talented, artistic people. And they share a common struggle…It makes them more sensitive and capable of sympathy. That’s why so many of them are kind and caring. And they choose to live their lives, on their own terms. It means they have a strong backbone. So because of all that, I really respect them. They’re even kinda cool…”
The same sentiment is reiterated in the sequel where Mizuki chastises people who discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals, the disabled community, and other minorities. The game’s encyclopedia entry for LGBTQ+ also plainly states: “The acronym LGBTQ+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning. I love them all!”
Too close, too intimate, and too vulnerable: close reading methodology and the future of feminist game studies (Critical Studies in Media Communication, Sarah Stang)
Academic article about the entanglement of personal identity with one’s analytical lens as a marginalized critic.
In this article I discuss close reading as a methodology for feminist game studies. Due to its centralization of the researcher’s own interpretations, close reading can be a particularly fruitful methodology for marginalized scholars discussing the ways games construct, position, and portray their own identities. However, this intimacy can also result in vulnerability, in part because reactionary and conservative members of the gaming community continue to insist that video games should be “just for fun” and push back against reading “too much” into them. This pushback has been directed in particularly hostile ways towards feminist critics and scholars who interpret game narratives or characters as misogynistic, homophobic, or racist. Yet, in order to make positive change happen, more feminist research on games needs to reach the broader public and intimate social justice-oriented close reading must become normalized rather than niche. In this sense, close reading can be both a methodology and a political stance.
Crunchyroll Bought A Popular Anime Video Store, Removed Its Hentai (Kotaku, Isaiah Colbert)
Sony’s purchase of RightStuf was followed by a ban on items with any explicit sexual content, affecting third-party manga, video, and game publishers.
Back in March, Crunchyroll broke the internet with its announcement that it was merging with Funimation. Although the merger meant that the Funimation and Crunchyroll catalog of anime could be found on one site, folks within the anime community worried that Crunchyroll’s consolidation of its then competitor would negatively affect the medium.
Kate Sánchez, the editor-in-chief at the anime critic publication ButWhyTho, equated Crunchyroll’s merger with Right Stuf to Disney buying a local comic shop and limiting its catalog.
“One company, regardless of how much I like that company, should not be in control of THIS much of one product,” Sánchez tweeted.
What the Heck is Going On in Yurei Deco? (Anime News Network, Christopher Farris & Monique Thomas)
Midseason check-in on the anime’s tackling of social media and otherness.
Chris: It’s notable then that .hack doesn’t totally eschew technology; they still operate using the social-media currency others do (though by scamming others out of it, in their case), and traverse the virtual-reality ‘Hyperverse’ of this setting for work and/or mischief. The writing seems to acknowledge those online elements as useful, as well as visually interesting and cool, parts of the conceptual composition. And on some level I can get behind that: I can kill a lot of time on my Twitter feed, but I’d probably like it less if I was required by law to be plugged into it at all times. And I’d like it a lot less if any crimes I was accused of had to have their trials livestreamed through it.
But as much as I enjoy the visual execution of the contrast between the ‘virtual’ inner city and its ‘real’ outskirts, I can also see it as heavy-handed when the show preaches about the inherent superiority of physical information and experiences.
Even then I am also taking notice of the series demonstrating a little more nuance to those topics as it’s moved the action to that setting in the last couple episodes.
Nicky: Part of that is also Berry’s experiences. It’s a bit like grass on the other side with her. Just like how she starts envious of .hack but doesn’t fully perceive all of the risks of her situation when in reality, both ways of living have positives and negatives. Our opening scene tells a story of the network as an all-seeing but ultimately non-malicious giant (based on Argus Panoptes) who was once stigmatized but transformed into the more friendly peacock. I’m constantly wondering how truthful that fable is. Their current state functions by controlling information that would deter the citizen’s happiness. Which even goes as far as brainwashing away negative experiences. It’s hell but it implies that there were once possibly “good intentions.” Even Berry’s parents, who work as mods, know that our treasures can’t simply be dragged to the recycle bin.
Chris: It’s an idea the series has been consistent about playing with all the way through: What counts as the ‘truth’, whether it’s as simple as what our eyes show us, or if there’s a deeper understanding needed to validate it, and how that might vary per person. Heck, Berry’s ‘death’, which is achieved by hacking and falsifying online records, is a fake occurrence that nonetheless allows her to start living in the ‘true’ world. And much like Tom and Huck’s false-pretense funeral allowing them to hear what others truly thought of them, this fake event provides an opportunity for Berry to hear some genuine sentiments from her parents, even as information-oppression is literally their job.
Like I said, nuance.
It’s why I think the show has worked better after those initial setup episodes, loaded down as they were with (admittedly necessary) world-building infodumps and “These kids these days with their phones” grumbling.
VIDEO: Deep dive into the shrinking number of shoujo anime over the years.
VIDEO: Interview with King Vader about his latest parody video, “Hood Jujutsu Kaisen.”
TWEET: Video clip from the latest Guilty Gear game, in which yo-yo-wielding nun Bridget comes out as trans.
THREAD: List of manga, some available in English and many not, that explicitly deal with LGBTQ+ issues in modern Japan.
THREAD: List of works by Black manga artist Minami Sakai.
THREAD: Long thread of reading regarding the ongoing story of the Universal Life Church and its influence.
We love to see audacious side projects.