She and Her Cat and Her Story

Adulthood, family, and the purrpose-driven life.

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She and Her Cat -everything flows- is a four-episode short which aired this time last year and quietly earned the honor of being 2016’s Show That Turned Me Into a Puddle of Tears. It’s the story of a young woman (Miyu) struggling to make a place for herself in the working world outside of college, as told through the eyes of the cat who’s been with her since childhood. Graceful, charming, wrenching, and hopeful, She and Her Cat is an understated, emotional gem. 10/10, would let wreck me again.

It’s also a refreshing take on the traditional female coming-of-age tale, which so often focuses on heterosexual romance and the importance of a man to help the woman achieve happiness or fulfillment. Instead, Miyu’s story and struggles are related to her career and—more importantly—to her relationships with two women.

Click here for the full post on Anime Feminist!

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So That I Could Be Myself: Gender Performance in Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju & Yuri on Ice

Finding a place for yourself, on stage and on ice.

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“It’s not a kind of rakugo I can do. The more I hear, the more uncomfortable I get… Never mind it. I have my own rakugo.”

“Trying to be the playboy isn’t me. I want to be the most beautiful woman in town, who seduces the playboy!”

This year we’ve had the pleasure of seeing a pair of top-notch anime, Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju and Yuri!!! on Ice, deal with gendered expectations in two very different spheres: 1940s Japanese rakugo and modern-day world figure skating. Along the way, both series have challenged cultural expectations about how men should or shouldn’t act, and shown why it’s important to cast aside restrictive gender roles and play to our own strengths.

Click here to read the full article on Anime Feminist!

Glancing Upstream: Winter 2016 Retrospective and Review

Something something “the winter of our discontent.”

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This is my shortest retrospective to date, thanks to a pretty dismal season in terms of incoming series. Some of that had to do with my own time constraints and self-imposed ranking rules (there are four shows in the “unranked” category this season, three of which I’d happily recommend to others), but some of it had to do with there just not being a lot that caught my eye this time around. Still, the top two were pretty special, and if an anime season can give you even one incredible series, then it’s hard to call it a true disappointment, I s’pose.

If there’s one positive trend to take from this season, it’s that we’ve got some good artists and directors in the business: people able to take into account all elements of a production and elevate the source material, whether that’s from “meh” to “good” or “good” to “great.” So take heart! The blueprints may be rough at times, but at least they’re in the hands of skilled builders.

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Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju – Episode 13 (Season Finale)

I’ve never been so happy to write the word “season” instead of “series” into a post title before.

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In case you missed the good news, Showa Genroku is getting a second season, something I never thought I’d be writing and am positively giddy to be doing so. Given that the manga is scheduled to wrap up sometime this summer, it’s likely the production staff had this planned out as a complete, two-part adaptation right from the start. Thank the anime gods for risk-takers and passion projects, that’s all I can say.

Knowing we’re only at the halfway point takes a lot of pressure off of me, too, as I don’t need to try to tie it all together or judge it as a complete work just yet. There’s lots of story left to tell, and while SGRS Act I set up one complicated, tragic stage, this season finale injects a powerful shot of hope into our story, suggesting that Act II may just find a way to give its current players a more optimistic ending after all.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!

Snow White with the Red Hair – Episode 24 (Series Finale & Review)

And so we turn the final page on our cozy little fairy tale.

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With a surprise messenger and a moonlit conversation, Snow White comes to a warm, heartfelt conclusion, providing a finale that’s open-ended but also satisfyingly complete. As is the norm, I’ll spend the first half of this post providing a spoiler-free review for those curious about the series, and the second half talking about the episode itself. Hit the jump for glowing words and screenshots alike.

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Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju – Episode 12

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for?

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Showa Genroku’s tragedy-coaster reaches its summit and drops us straight down in more ways than one, fulfilling its first-episode promises in dramatic fashion. There may be a small light at the end of this tunnel, but it’s an awful long way off. For now, we need to talk about our cast and our story, and about why things happened the way they did–or, rather, about why that “why” remains so elusive in the first place. It’s another essay, this one in four parts. Get comfy. It’s a long way down to the bottom of this post.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!

Snow White with the Red Hair – Episode 23: “The Future Because of Who You Are”

Is it a little shoujo in here, or is it just me?

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“Come for the calm, stay for the comedy” is becoming my new Snow White pitch as of late. Strong interpersonal dynamics and a newfound emotional closeness have been the through-line of the last few episodes, turning this more into an ensemble production than a two-person show, and one with a hearty dash of humor to boot. Add to this a BONES team that knows its way around a silly face as well as they do a quiet, honest moment between friends, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for one delightful fairy tale. Seems a shame we have to close the book so soon.

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