AniFem Digest: Con Reports & Corner Reviews

It’s an Otakon Weekend one-two punch!

A girl in a kimono closes one eye and holds out a piece of charcoal, like an artist imagining a snapshot

I attended the Otakon anime convention in Washington, D.C. a couple weekends ago, and then spent the next few days writing about it for AniFem! Three posts in one week! Ain’t I just busy as a bee?

These are AniFem staff articles, meaning we all pitched in a few paragraphs (and then some, because PSHAW, WORD COUNTS) to give our readers plenty of perspectives. I hope you enjoy both my thoughts as well as those of my other awesome teammates!

  • [Review] In This Corner of the World: We had the honor of not only seeing a special screening of the film, but also listening to producer Maruyama and animation director Matsubara talk about it afterwards! I really liked this one, so naturally I spent lots of words discussing its focus on feminine perspectives, “ordinary” strength, and why this story matters now maybe more than ever.
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Panning the Stream: Summer 2017 Midseason Review

Beating the heat with some cool summer series.

I’m writing this fresh off an Otakon Anime Convention whirlwind of a weekend, and dear readers, I am T-I-R-E-D. The thought of catching up with and writing 2-3 paragraphs on 11 series sounded so exhausting that I wound up dropping two of the shows I was still kinda on the fence about just so I could make the post shorter (I still talk about them a little, though). As I said after my June beach vacation, there’s truly nothing like a week away from your regular schedule to help you trim the ol’ watchlist.

Even with those dropped shows, my queue is still pretty packed thanks to sequels and surprise successes. Lots of variety too! Hit the jump to find the nice comedy, smart spy drama, or sprawling fantasy that sounds good to you.

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Failed Tanuki and Half-Baked Tengu: Identity & Community in The Eccentric Family – Part 2

Picking up right where we left off…

“Tengu, tanuki, humans… why are all of you so foolish? I’m completely surrounded by fools!”

In Part One of our winding two-part Tour de Kyoto, we talked about the assumptions and expectations attributed to the tanuki, tengu, and human populations that inhabit The Eccentric Family‘s world, as well as how the pressures to live up to an unattainable group ideal affected Akadama and the four Shimogamo brothers. Here in Part Two, we’ll take the show’s exploration of personal and group identity one step further, looking at the characters who defy their “natures” and deny their names, and how the lines between the three groups get blurrier as the series progresses.

What does it mean to be a tanuki? A tengu? A human? Is there any real distinction at all? Our characters insist there is, but their actions tell a different story.

Click here for the full post on Crunchyroll!


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Rule of Three(ish) Review: Summer 2017 Anime Digest

Are you not entertained?!

Waiting on slowpoke Gamers to air its third episode meant a whole bunch of shows had already made it to their fourth, hence the “ish” in that title. Ah, well. Just means more tasty content for you dear readers, right?

I’m not sure this is what I’d call a “good” season, but it certainly is a fun one. Pleasant surprises, ambitious messes, exquisite piles of trash, and (sigh) Welcome to the Ballroom rule my summer watch list. While several of them could fall off a cliff in a hurry if they aren’t careful (and some maybe already have?), overall I’m having a pretty good time. Hit the jump to see who’s gaining ground and who’s falling behind 3-4 episodes into this wild, wacky season.

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Failed Tanuki and Half-Baked Tengu: Identity & Community in The Eccentric Family – Part 1

I always said I’d write a bunch of words about this series someday. Who knew I’d write them all in one go?

“Humans live in the city, tanuki crawl the earth, and tengu fly through the air. Since the Heian era relocation, humans, tanuki, and tengu have maintained a delicate balance. That’s what keeps the great wheel of this city turning round and round. More fun than anything is watching that wheel spin.”

Right from its opening lines, The Eccentric Family establishes Kyoto as a city inhabited by three groups—tanuki, tengu, and humans—with clearly defined traits and domains. Through first-person narration and character dialog, we’re given a general idea of how each group thinks, feels, and acts. The series then proceeds to spend two seasons quietly but systematically tearing those assumptions apart.

As the story progresses, it challenges its characters’ strict ideas about identity by depicting a variety of individuals who either can’t or won’t adhere to the group they belong to, blurring the boundaries both within and between the three spheres so that it becomes less and less clear what it means to be “a tanuki” or “a tengu” or “a human” at all. Through its colorful world and unique individuals, The Eccentric Family asks us what makes us who we say we are—and wonders how we’d find that answer in the first place.

Click here for the full post on Crunchyroll!


Did you know? Have you heard? The Josei Next Door has a tip jar!

Panning the Stream: Summer 2017 Premieres Digest

Let’s see what sort of treasures we can excavate this time!

A girl wearing a miner's helmet shines her light on a stone relic

I’ve been hard at work writing and editing the full-length premiere reviews for Anime Feminist, so you’ll have to excuse me if the write-ups for my digests have gotten smaller along the way. Writing lots of words about a few series means fewer words about a lot of series, it turns out. The good(?) news is that I actually watched the shows on Amazon Strike this time around (I signed up for the free trial so I could help AniFem–and yes, I feel dirty about it, too), so they’re included for once.

The categories are a little different this time because there were only a couple of shows that “wowed” me but a whole bunch that fell in a “let’s give it a couple and see what happens” range, so I adjusted accordingly. Overall, the Summer premiere week started slow, peaked in the middle, and finished with a rollercoaster of “pleasant surprise” crests and “utter garbage” valleys. I wound up with a lot more balls in the air than expected. Here’s hoping we can all catch a few good ones as they come down.

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Panning the Stream: Summer 2017 AniFem Premiere Review Digest

Boldly going where… I go every season, actually…

A boy wearing headphones around his neck stands at the edge of a cliff overlooking a sea of stars

Like I did last season, I tackled some of the full-length Summer premiere reviews over at Anime Feminist. I’ll have my usual Premiere Digest out later this week to give you a quick run-down of All The Things, but for now I figured I’d put these in one easy-to-find place.

To keep things simple for anyone who’s wondering which shows they should check out and which they should sink to the bottom of the sea, they’re organized from Very Best to Literally The Worst:


Did you know? Have you heard? The Josei Next Door has a tip jar!