Podcast: Manga Variety Hour – One-Shot Wonders

The good, the bad, and the brief.

Manga image of a girl face-palming and sweatdropping while a boy in glasses looks at her and blushes, the word "Smile smile" bursting out around him

Vrai, Caitlin, and I have returned to give you the skinny on more manga, this time focusing on single-volume titles! Our cheesy segment titles are back with a vengeance and we’ve brought the Big Salt Energy for this one. Also: lots and lots of good queer manga, for lovers of cuteness and drama alike.

Click here to view the show notes and download the SoundCloud file, or find it on iTunes and Stitcher by searching for “Chatty AF.”


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Podcast: Manga in Your Ears – Pandora Hearts

Opening the box on guest hosting and manga feelings alike.

Oz, Gilbert, Sharon, Alice, and Break lie in a circle looking up at the "camera" above them

For my first-ever spot as a guest host, Helen (@WanderinDreamr) invited me to join her on the Manga in Your Ears podcast to holler about one of my all-time favorite manga, the messy and emotional Pandora Hearts! Join us as we talk plot roller coasters, ambiguous love stories, and my enduring love for tragedy troll lord Xerxes Break.

Click here for Helen’s intro and a link to the podcast!

Rule of Three Review: Summer 2019 Anime Digest

The dog days of summer have arrived. Good thing we’ve got a parade of anime to keep us entertained indoors.

Two teen girls with their arms raised, flushing and looking frazzled

As per tradition, my AniFem teammates and I got together to take a second look at the summer newcomers. Since I couldn’t talk about Detective Waver and the Wiz Kids, I instead lavished some love on given, blasted off with Astra Lost in Space, and informed Ensemble Stars in no certain terms that it did not make callbacks.

Click here for the full post on AniFem!


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Nichijou and the Everyday Epics of High School Girls

A slice-of-life that really knows how to live.

Mio dives dramatically off a riverbank. Yuuko watches her, shocked, in the foreground.

Adapted from the manga by Keiichi Arawi and vibrantly animated by Kyoto Animation, this comedy featuring robots, talking cats, and murderous deer initially sounds far from “ordinary.” However, Nichijou‘s dedication to finding reality through absurdity—to showing how things feel rather than how they literally are—grants the series an authenticity that many grounded YA dramas struggle to capture.

More to the point, it accomplishes this with a cast largely composed of high school girls—in particular, the central crew of Yuuko, Mio, Mai, and Nano. Through these girls’ diverse personalities and adventures, Nichijou not only showcases many common (and not-so-common) trials and triumphs of modern female adolescence and friendship, but also expands the narrow idea of what it means to be a “normal” teen girl in fiction.

Click here for the full article on Anime Feminist!


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Panning the Stream: Summer 2019 Premiere Digest

It’s a manga adaptation wonderland out here.

Despite spending my last month bouncing from city-to-city and house-to-house like a hyperactive jackalope, I managed to find a little time to watch some summer premieres and chat about them.  Like I did last season, I’ve also linked to the full premiere reviews over at AniFem if you’d like to hear more in-depth thoughts from my teammates.

Here are my first impressions on what I’ve caught so far—let me know if I’m missing out on anything!

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A Girl Worth Fighting For: Kingdom Hearts III and the mystery of the missing heroines

Curses! Damseled again! Aqua stands in front of a young Kairi, her keyblade drawn protectively

The first Kingdom Hearts game launched just over seventeen years ago, and I’ve been an avid fan and sometimes-apologist of the series ever since. Despite its (in)famously convoluted storyline, the character relationships and emotional blend of melancholy, hope, and heart-on-sleeve sincerity has kept me captivated into adulthood. Because, really, who cares about plot holes when you’re watching a cutscene through a veil of tears?

Needless to say, I was elated when the mythical Kingdom Hearts III finally dropped this year. I couldn’t wait to see the many stories come to a dramatic close and all the tragedy children get the endings they deserved. I wanted so badly to adore it.

And while there was a lot to enjoy (the gameplay, the graphics, most of the worlds, everything involving Axel), there was just as much that left me frustrated—and all of it linked back to the way the game treated its most prominent female characters. Kingdom Hearts’s cast and audience may have grown up, but its tired “boy saves girl” gender politics remain just as outdated as they were when the franchise first launched.

Click here for the full article on Anime Feminist!


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Podcast: Spring 2019 Mid-season Check-in

There aren’t a ton of shows in bloom, but a few of those blossoms sure are colorful.

Chiaki joins Peter and I for her first seasonal check-in! Click here to view the show notes and download the SoundCloud file, or find it on iTunes and Stitcher by searching for “Chatty AF.”


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