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!

Podcast: Manga Variety Hour – The Monster Mash

This could be the beginning of a boo-tiful new series.

A grinning vampire and a figure wearing a pumpkin on their head pose beneath the handwritten words "Happy Halloween!!"

By popular request, Chatty AF tried our hand at a manga review podcast! And what better way to kick things off than with a Halloween special? Vrai, Caitlin, and I shared faves and flops alike in this monsteriffic medley. Terrible segment titles and cheesy intros free with purchase.

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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An Introduction to the Saiyuki Anime*

*As told by a fan who read the manga almost a decade ago

After being off the air for nearly 13 years, Saiyuki has at last returned to grace our televisions with attractive men beating the crap out of each other while waxing poetic about their dark-and-stormy pasts. But with Saiyuki‘s previous anime seasons scarce and its manga volumes even scarcer, you might be hesitant to check out the new series.

Well, fear not! I, an ardent Saiyuki fan who read the manga as it was coming out almost 10 years ago, am here to provide you with the story exactly as I remember it. Which is to say: Very vaguely! Now you, too, can enjoy Saiyuki Reload Blast as if you were right there with the rest of the fandom, reading the manga in the mid ’00s, selling the volumes to help pay for grad school, and now racking your brain to piece together the semi-existent plot of that gloriously feelsy action series you still love so very, very much.

Come along with me on this journey, won’t you? This journey…TO THE MAX!

Caution: Loving irreverence, questionable accuracy, and spoilers for the Saiyuki and Saiyuki Reload manga below. Content warning for mentions of child abuse.

Click here for the full post on Crunchyroll!

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A Dream of One’s Own: Finding a home outside femininity in Chihayafuru

Cards against gender conformity.

Chihayafuru is one of my all-time favorite anime series, so you can imagine my surprise and delight when Kodansha announced they’d licensed the manga for an English-language digital release. While devouring the first volume, I once again fell in love with this endearing, intense, emotional rollercoaster of a sports series about three friends in the world of competitive karuta–and was also struck for the first time by how insightfully Chihaya’s childhood arc depicts the plight of the “tomboy.”

Sometimes wrenching but ultimately inspiring, Chihayafuru’s first volume quietly challenges traditional gender norms and offers the hope of a supportive community to anyone who’s ever felt like they didn’t quite fit society’s gendered expectations of who they’re “supposed” to be.

Click here for the full post on Anime Feminist!

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

No Geek Girls Need Apply: Bias & Blind Spots in Princess Jellyfish Vol. 1

Never judge a princess (or anyone else, for that matter) by their gown.

Screenshot (205)

They say girls turn pretty when they fall in love. But if they never fall in love, will they stay gross forever? Amars may not love flesh-and-blood real men, but they are in love with The Three Kingdoms and trains and dolls. What about them?

Mom, why do girls have to be pretty? Because I’d rather not. I’d rather not become pretty at all. Really.

—Kurashita Tsukimi, Princess Jellyfish Vol. 1

I finally had a chance to read the Vol. 1 Omnibus (Chapters 1-12) of Kodansha’s Princess Jellyfish (Kuragehime) manga, the story of a bunch of geek gals living together in Tokyo and the cross-dressing rich boy who befriends them. With its upbeat tone, cast of lovably awkward turtles, and celebration of female nerd counterculture, it’s easy to see why the series has charmed so many people.

Yet Princess Jellyfish isn’t all fluff and lightness: It isn’t afraid to touch on more serious topics (including, CW: the sexual assault of one of its male characters), and frequently acknowledges the real-world prejudices many of the characters face because they don’t conform to societal norms. It also isn’t afraid to show how those prejudices can be held by anyone, even those who face prejudice themselves.

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