Some of my Go-To Youtubers (reposted Patreon Post)

The $5 tier on my patreon allows people to nominate/vote on one post a month- about anything!  This is one of those posts, which I did on Tumblr back in September. Go to my patreon here to learn more.

I haven’t really gone DEEP into Youtube, but i do have a few channels I’m subscribed to or that I frequently visit I wouldn’t mind talking up. I’m a media analysis geek, as y’all can tell, so I love me some good video essays on pop culture, social issues and whatnot. Here’s some channels I visit and recommend if you share my tastes

Lindsay Ellis– She has a ton of thoughtful and funny examinations of media and pop culture trends. Her videos are well-researched, detailed and I learn a lot from them! Example: Her Hobbit documentary is especially of note, its worthy of being shown in theaters- I had no idea about the actors strike or any of that, but it’s fascinating. She also did a great piece on the Shape-of-Water-style “monster boyfriend” throughout the history of media and why marginalized communities in particular are drawn to that archetype.

Jenny Nicholson She has a great dry sense of humor and really takes on the weirdness of the internet and is excellent at eviscerating bad or mediocre movies. Unlike a lot of Youtubers, she’s not pretentious or pedantic about it- she can often get you to think about why these stories exist and how they can be improved. Example: Recently she did a video of some of those silly “dark rituals” they post on the Internet, I cracked up through the whole thing. She also destroyed The Greatest Showman in a satisfying way that I appreciated after being forced to see it.

Sarah Z-She has some really thorough and thoughtful essays on the kind of media I’m interested in. She’s especially good at explaining some of the social criticisms and breaking down why the concerns of *deep voice*SOciAL JuSticE WaRriors can be worth listening to.  I’m often nodding along, but occasionally I learn something new. Examples: She completely eviscerated Riverdale and the Heathers reboot in a satisfying way and recently did a good comparison of the Series of Unfortunate Events adaptations. She also has a good breakdown on what is and isn’t “queerbaiting”.

ProZD: I post his stuff a lot on here, so it shouldn’t surprise you. Very funny skits about important subjects like anime, video games and cats. A lot of geekery to be found here, and I enjoy how he handled Q and A’s too.

Press Buttons ‘n Talk– My fave Lets Play channel. ProZd and Manky are both incredible voice actors and have bought me to tears of laughter on several occasions. Anne Marie’s always a blast too. Example: an entire, voice acted lets play of the first two Ace Attorney games, I’ve introduced people to the series via these, they’ve been invaluable. I also recommend the Hamtaro playthrough.

Gibi– My go-to ASMR person. She has a very soothing voice and does a lot of fun role-play skits based in various fandoms (a lot of anime) and its a good way for me to calm down.  Her Team Rocket skits are genuinely funny, she clearly adores the characters.

Honorary mentions:

Continue reading “Some of my Go-To Youtubers (reposted Patreon Post)”

Advertisements

Winter 2018 Anime Overview (from Favorite to Least Favorite)

It’s that time of the season! Time to look back on the anime I watched over the Winter 2018 season and give my thoughts on them. We’ve got about seven anime here. I didn’t bother with an objective ranking this time, so this is just in the order of what I enjoyed least to what I enjoyed most. Don’t take it as an actual commentary on objective quality (except for number one, which is the best one no matter how you look at it).

Devilman Crybaby

image

Devilman Crybaby is a 10-episode anime adaptation of Go Nagai’s 70s manga Devilman, revamped for a modern audience. It was released all at once on Netflix. The story follows a young man named Akira Fudo, a Nice Young Man ™. His childhood friend Ryo gets him involved in hunting demons and he ends up merging with one! He becomes Devilman, a demon who retains his good human heart. With Ryo at his side, he vows to use his powers for justice and fight the bad demons.

I…watched this for some reason, and I pretty much already did a review (beware spoilers) and covered my thoughts on it in my liveblog. I didn’t come out exactly a fan of the show overall, but it was an interesting experience at least. I had a fun time looking into the weird history of the franchise and with all the memes. Devilman Crybaby is based on a old, influential manga and there’s a good breakdown of some of the smart adaptation choices the series made here. Probably the thing that a lot of people in my circle talking about it the most is it’s EXTREMELY queer, and while the representation is a mixed bag to say the least, it makes an effort.

Overvall, there’s some cool concepts and arcs in this series, such as the the depictions of Satan and God.There’s also some neat animation and aesthetics, but plotwise it’s uneven with the first half being very weak in the pacing department and the characters were not explored as much as I’d like.

There’s also a lot of badly handled and salaciously framed sexual assault junk as well as gross, exploitative framing of women’s bodies while mens’ bodies are largely left alone. The tired way it deals with sexuality is really boring and standard when you get down to it, rather than “shocking” like it tries to be.

What i really got out of it was I will keep the doomed queer lady couple and carry them in my heart along with the other gay stuff and I will laugh at how Extra Ryo is forever, but in the long run, not much else is memorable and will stick with me.

The Ancient Magus Bride (Episodes 14-22)

image

Read my review of the first half of the Ancient Magus Bride here!

Hoo boy. There is a lot to unpack with this one. I am going to get pretty detailed with my analysis here, so major spoilers. The TLDR version is: good stuff with Chise’s mom, bad ending episode, read the manga.

Let’s start with the good. We see Chise grow a lot as a character during this second half of the series and there’s a really nice focus on her forming friendships with girls closer to her age. The series shows her building a life outside Elias for herself and she becomes more self-possessed. She and Elias have a lot to teach each other, and they have some refreshingly honest conversations.

The series also doesn’t shy away from depicting Chise’s trauma and shows her grappling with it a lot.. She still places a very low value on herself and feels guilty for relying on others, and Elias calls her out on that. She’s taking steps forward, slowly. Episode 22, probably the strongest episode of the series, deals with the issues she has with her mother and her backstory and there are a ton of cool things there

Chise’s mother attracted monsters in a way similar to Chise does, and when her husband abandoned her, she struggled to both support and protect herself and Chise. It was near impossible task considering all the things trying to kill them and her desperation eventually led to a complete breakdown, where she tried to strangle Chise and lessen her burden. When she snapped out of it, she was so horrified at what she’d done, she committed suicide.

image

Continue reading “Winter 2018 Anime Overview (from Favorite to Least Favorite)”

My Favorite Epicstream Articles and Reviews

I was a regular on the entertainment website Epicstream for about two years, churning out article after article weekly. I wrote well over 200 articles for them (Maybe over 300 or 400…), covering reviews, list articles, news pieces and so on. I also created quizzes for them. I eventually got extremely burnt out and had to stop being a regular and turn my attention to other career paths. I still do the occasional article for them these days, but it’s rare.

Working there was hard. I learned a lot about the field and what my limits were. The commenters were predominantly very typical fanboys who didn’t like my progressive views and would often completely flip out at me for very silly reasons, so I came to stop reading the comments and it made me sad I couldn’t engage with my readers more. The job was more time consuming than it was profitable, and some of the stuff I did there was when I was completely exhausted and not my best work. I realized that this was not the right job for me- if I do ever turn my fandom blogging into a regular job/ source of income, it will have to be on my own terms, my own schedule, with my own audience that I cultivated.

Nevertheless, I think I did some good work there and there are some articles I did that say some really important things that I am really proud of. There’s some I put an incredible amount of research and time into. There’s some that are just plain fun and full of trivia I find interesting. I look back on them fondly, thinking of all the things I learned.

So here’s an overview of my favorite Epicstream articles out of the hundreds I did- the ones I think were the most informative and solid, the most important ones and the ones I was most passionate about. I hope people who read this post enjoy this look at my past work and get something out of these articles that I put my heart and soul into.

THE ARTICLES I’M MOST PROUD OF

Out of All the articles I ever did for Epicstream, these are the ones I’m most proud of.

Feature Detail

The Influence of Magical Girls on Western Animation

This was my first feature article for Epicstream and it dealt with a subject near and dear to my hear: magical girls. It delved into the influence the magical girl genre has had on the West, talking about shows like Steven Universe, Star vs the Forces of Evil and Miraculous Ladybug and it talked about the positive things this means for Western media. I love seeing a lot of girl-positive things about Magical Girl works carrying over to Western media and the way the tropes are played with through cross-cultural exchange and I think my article does a pretty good job capturing all that. The companion piece, 6 Essential Stories for Understanding the Magical Girl Genre talks about some important series in magical girl anime.Feature Detail

4 Examples of Social Allegories in Fantastical Fiction: The Good, the Bad and The Ugly

This was a shortened and more accessible version of my thesis that I did for grad school. It examines the way sci-fi and fantasy uses magical races and aliens/tales of the future as metaphors for racism, sexism, anti-semitism and homophobia- the works of J.K. Rowling, Terry Pratchett, Ursula K. LeGuin, Octavia Butler and the abysmal Save the Pearls book are my examples. I talk about the pros and cons of fantasical allegories and how they can go horribly right or horribly wrong. I also talk about the “reverse-opression stories” (stories that show a world where the oppressors and the oppressed are flipped) and the unfortunate implications of them, as well as the rare well-done example.  I’m proud of this one, as I think it covers a lot of ground and gives a fair overview of the subject and this presentation even made my professor say I should go into teaching!

Feature Detail

The History and Importance of Girls’ Manga

This was a piece I’d been intending to do for a long time. I’d often heard shoujo manga being dismissed, stereotyped and denigrated because it was media by women aimed at women and it really ground my gears, especially after looking into the history of shoujo and seeing how revolutionary and groundbreaking the women who defined the multigenre were. This article rebuts ridiculous claims like “action and sci-fi shoujo aren’t a thing” and gives a quick, simplistic overview of seminal shoujo artists and how they impacted anime and manga as a whole- many of your favorite shonen anime wouldn’t exist without them. It may not be perfect, but I think it says some important things and that the call to respect the women behind shoujo manga is one that needs to be answered. The companion piece 13 Action-Packed Girls’ Manga with Awesome Leading Ladies shines a spotlight on shoujo that contains lots of action alongside dynamic, strong-willed female leads.

Feature Detail

5 Incredible Sagas of Fandom Scams and Deception

This is an article I’m really proud of because I have seen the overview I gave of the scammer Andy Blake’s history being praised as a resource and being used to warn potential victims about him- for example, in this tumblr post– and I am really glad to some I wrote doing some good and helping people protect themselves from a dangerous person. I put a ton of work and research into this article and that section especially because I wanted to be fair and accurate, so I’m glad to see it was worth it.

It’s also pretty notable because it’s the only piece someone threatened legal action on- that’s why there are only four pages despite the “5” in the title. There was a section of the article about an artist who was allegedly impersonating someone else and well…that artist got mad, and sent a copyright notice accusing me of plagiarism of her words and unfair image use. The image use is a gray area (and a rookie mistake on my part), but the plagiarism claim was definitely not true, as all I did was paraphrase what she wrote (I did not copy anything) and linked back to her words as a source. However, Epicstream naturally has a “better safe than sorry” policy so the whole section was deleted. I’m fairly sure I would not have been threatened with legal action had the article been complementary to the person in question.

SOCIAL JUSTICE EXTRAVAGANZA:

I believe representation and examination of social biases in media is important, so naturally I did a few articles in that vein. As you can imagine, the internet was not happy, but I think most of them were pretty solid.

Continue reading “My Favorite Epicstream Articles and Reviews”

RECENT HISTORY: My Top Five (Six) Anime

So they asked on anime feminist what people’s favorite anime were. I KIND OF got carried away, why am i like this, might as well repost on here:

My top current top five are Sailor Moon, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Princess Tutu and Natsume’s Book of Friends. Twelve Kingdoms used to occupy the fifth spot and it’s still a favorite I just…love Natsume a lot.

Short pitches (w/ slight feminist perspective)

image

Sailor Moon: A crybaby girl turns into a superhero and finds friends and allies as she fights monsters. Classic magical girl anime, lots of fun, lots of strong friendships between women who are varied and complex characters, canon and well developed butch and femme lesbian couple, just massively important to anime in general and explicitly created to give regular girls heroes to empower them. Helped me realize I was queer! It’s an early 90s anime though, so you’ll run into some serious fatphobia, occasional homophobia, sexist comments, etc.

image

Fullemetal Alchemist: Brotherhood: Two brothers lose their bodies when they try to bring their mother back with alchemy and go on a journey to regain what they’ve lost. One of the most tightly plotted, emotional and well-told narratives I’ve seen period, alternately wildly funny and heartwrenching and grapples with heavy themes like loss, war, prejudice, grief, sin and redemption in an intelligent way. It’s a very male-centered story in many ways, but there are several wonderful well-written female characters with robust character arcs and they’re written in a respectful way that stands out among other shonen anime. Minimal fanservice as well.

image

Revolutionary Girl Utena: A girl who aims to be a prince one day gets involved in a strange game where students are dueling for possession of a girl called “the Rose Bride” in order to access a mysterious power. What can I say? It’s a surreal feminist deconstruction of fairy tale/romance tropes centered a relationship between complex, well-developed queer women. It’s amazing, affected me on a deep level, and helped me come to terms with my own queerness. There’s a content warning for pretty much anything you can thing of, but for the most part it grapples with the subject matter well and tastefully (imo). Deals with stuff like victim blaming and abusive cycles in an interesting, effective way. Nothing’s what it seems and there are endless layers to peel back. Also there are elephants on surfboards.

image

Princess Tutu: A duck turns into a magical girl in order to save a prince she’s fallen in love with and help him restore his heart. Pretty much the best take on Swan Lake ever. Examines and overturns both fairy tale tropes and the nature of storytelling while developing wonderful characters and a slightly absurd, engaging world. Lots of arcs about women regaining agency. Fairly dark, but not in a needlessly edgy way. Lots of beautiful dancing, and seriously, the slow-burn character development is the best. You’ll start out hating character and then by the end be surprised how much you love them. Stick with it,

image

Natsume’s Book of Friends: A teenage boy with the power to see supernatural beings (yokai) inherits a strange book from his grandmother that gives him the power to enslave and command the yokai whose names are written in it. Instead, he decides to free them. To quote my rec post (http://ladyloveandjustice.t… ) Natsume is a beautiful anime about healing from trauma, growing as a person and connecting with those around you. I’ve heard it described as “like a warm hug” and I can’t think of anything more accurate. I often feel like it helps me heal from my own wounds. The main character is a total sweetheart, most of the characters are lovely and the beauty of the world the show takes place in is astounding. There’s tension and conflict a plenty, as well as complexity, but the show is really mostly about growth and love. There’s absolutely no gross fanservice or tropey, shady bullshit to be found here. This anime is heartfelt, gentle and emotional in the best way.

Also, the heavy thread throughout is a male character having a woman’s legacy being an important part of his journey and identity as he finds out more about her and tries to understand her, which is just rare to see in fiction period. Lots of awesome ladies too.And cats!

image

And a quick bonus description of the Twelve Kingdoms: a submissive, insecure girl must learn what she’s really made of when she’s suddenly transported to another world and left to fend off demons by herself. Fantastic worldbuilding, some of the best character development I’ve ever seen (we see three girls who are major characters go through massive growth and change), has some criticism of sexism, deals with social issues as it explores the politics of the world- this is isekai done right. No fanservice or shady shit and just completely focused on women finding their power and agency.

RECENT HISTORY: Natsume Yuujinchou Rec Post

Okay guys I just…I love Natsume Yuujinchou/Natsume’s Book of Friendsso much. SO MUCH. It has touched my heart SO DEEPLY and is now one of my top five anime, so i am making one of those overly long overenthusiastic rec posts with tons of gifs in an attempt to impart on you all why it is a thing you should watch.

image

Basic premise: A teenage boy, Natsume Takashi,  has the rare ability to see otherworldly beings (youkai), who range from violent and dangerous to relatively friendly, but are often very startling when they show up regardless. Natsume was orphaned at a young age and passed around among his relatives, who all considered him a liar and troublemaker because he claimed to see all these things they couldn’t. He often faced abuse and neglect from his guardians and bullying and alienation from his peers.

Natsume has at long last found a kind foster family to live with, but he’s having a very hard time adjusting to the idea that people care about him now and he struggles a lot with the trauma and scars his past has left him with.

image

What’s more, he’s in inherited a strange book from his deceased grandmother, Natsume Reiko, who he discovers could also see youkai. She would often get in fights with youkai and win due to her strong spiritual power and cunning nature. After she won, she’d make the youkai sign their names in what she called her “book of friends” and bind them to her in servitude. Now Natsume has the power to control these youkai, which makes a lot of youkai want to kill him and steal the book from him.

Continue reading “RECENT HISTORY: Natsume Yuujinchou Rec Post”