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 Kingdom Hearts’s cast and audience may have grown up, but its tired “boy saves girl” gender politics remain just as outdated as they were when the franchise first launched.

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Lady Leads & Sidekick Lads: Flipping the script in Team Rocket’s “Training Daze”

The lovely, charming origin story.

The Team Rocket trio stand together, wearing red training uniforms. Jessie clenches a fist and looks at James, who looks back at her with a determined smile. Meowth stands between them, grinning wide.

The Team Rocket trio have never been your typical villains. With a tenacity only matched by their incompetence, an enduring love for one another, a closet full of exquisite crossplay, and enough puns to sink the St. Anne, they’re about as charming as “bad guys” can get.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that their special backstory episode defies as many conventions as they do, taking the classic team origin story and turning familiar gendered archetypes cleverly on their heads.

Click here for the full article on Anime Feminist!


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Podcast: The Vision of Escaflowne Rewatchalong – Episodes 21-26 (Final)

The kids are (probably gonna be) all right.
Hitomi grips Van's arm between her hands, staring at him intently.

The Escaflowne Rewatchalong comes to its plot-packed conclusion! Revelations are had, families are reunited, and we can finally, finally, talk about Dilandau.

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: The Vision of Escaflowne Rewatchalong – Episodes 14-20

Everything happens so very, very much.

Folken and Naria hold hands in a darkened room, as if taking part in a dance

We’re back with more Escaflowne chatter! With dream ghosts, cat twins, and literal fanfic machines, it’s the show’s wildest stretch to date—and that is saying something.

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: Fall 2018 Wrap-up

Hang on to your hats, it’s an action-packed ride.

A girl hangs from the back of a train. Two people, a Spanish woman and a blonde boy, grab hold of her hands to keep her from falling.

Caitlin, Peter, and I look back on the Fall 2018 season! We touch on the licensed shows we watched this Fall, including sequels, shorts, and a few Netflix latecomers of note. A busy season calls for a busy podcast—and plenty of spirited debates.

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: AniFem Team Q&A – 2018 Edition

The lovely, charming podcasters!

Team Rocket sitting behind microphones. Jessie and James are wearing brightly colored suits, bow ties, and sunglasses. Meowth sits between them. All three are smiling cheerfully.

Amelia, Caitlin, Peter, Vrai, and I got together to answering questions from readers and talk about our recent fundraising efforts. Please enjoy our grumbles about how inaccessible academic writing is, our excitement about returning contributors, and our recent decision to make Team Rocket the site ambassadors. Oh yes. I have that in writing, folks.

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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All Folks Bright and Beautiful: The casual gender diversity of Heaven’s Design Team

How to succeed at inclusivity without really trying.

A group of people sitting around a meeting room table. A man and woman face each other in the foreground.

The Heaven’s Design Team manga follows God’s R&D Department as they take requests from on high (literally) to populate the earth with new animals. Similar to Cells at Work!, it’s an edutainment series that balances comical interactions between coworkers with mini-lessons about some of the world’s most unique, clever, or just plain terrifying critters.

As the kid who devoured Zoobooks and the adult who’d rather visit a new city’s aquarium than its art museum, the series sounded like my jam, but it wasn’t exactly waving its arms and shouting “I’ll make great AniFem content!” either. Which was part of what made it such a pleasant surprise. I may have come for the neat animal facts, but I stayed for the charming cast breezily ignoring gender norms.

Click here for the full article on Anime Feminist!


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