I Can’t Believe I Care This Much About Marvel Again (A Review of Loki: Where Mischief Lies)

loki novel

I’ve made my exhaustion with the Marvel Cinematic Universe quite public in the last little while. It just got so big, so convoluted, so self-conscious and yet so self-congratulatory. Which is a shame, because there really is some good stuff in there, and a lot of potential for fun… as this book reminded me, coming out of left field and smacking me over the head with an emotional investment in a slice of the Marvel world. Loki: Where Mischief Lies (penned by Mackenzi Lee, most famous for her queer historical YA) is a gorgeously written, tightly plotted tale of gods and magic that contains just the right amount of hijinks, and contains a frankly graceful rendering of Loki that gets right what makes his character so interesting and so likeable… and, as a bonus, he’s not at all heterosexual. Having picked this up for work and gone in with very few expectations, this book blew me away, and I am so delightfully baffled that it gets its own post. Continue reading

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A Little Bit Genghis Khan: The Enemies-as-Lovers Appeal of Killing Eve

Killing-Eve-Season-2

Today I want to talk about a thrilling, dynamic piece of media—a gripping cat-and-mouse, cloak-and-dagger tale of espionage centred around the relationship between a notorious villain and the agent intent on hunting them down, two characters who get irreversibly tangled in one another’s lives until the edges between fascination, rivalry, and romantic tension become increasingly blurred.

I am, obviously, referring to the music video to Miiike Snow’s ‘Genghis Khan’.

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Easy Breezy: February ’20 Roundup

Eizouken (42)

“I have two posts about Eizouken coming up, on two different sites!” I said to myself earlier this month. “Wouldn’t it be funny if they came out back to back?”

Lo and behold…

On the blog:

Keep Your Hands off Eizouken: A Passion Project about Passion Projects – in which I get a bit sappy about the love with which this anime-about-anime celebrates creativity and collaboration.

Queer YA Mini-Reviews: Soccer, Steampunk, and Survival Horror – in which the mini-reviews kick off for 2020, with Highway Bodies, Running with Lions, and Tarnished Are the Stars.

On Anime Feminist

The Gloriously Goofy, Geeky Girls of Keep Your Hands Off Eizkouken! – “this show is good – feminist analysis edition”. In which I dig into exactly what’s so delightful (and a bit subversive) about the antics and aesthetics of the main characters, and how they’re allowed to be cartoony, zany, and passionate.

Enter the Web Zone

Drew Gooden (yeah, the guy of  “road work ahead? Uh, I sure hope it does!” fame – he’s been pretty consistently funny since then, too!) talks the benefits of letting a beloved show end, rather than stretching it out until it’s no longer recognisable as the show you thought you wanted to watch forever.

The story of Jo March and her sisters is one of many classics that we keep returning to, and this video looks at the major film adaptations to see what new spins we’ve put on the narrative in each era.

Reclaiming the Witch Through Magical Girls– the cute witch is almost a ubiquitous character/trope/aesthetic, but this wasn’t always the case, and its resurgence and reframing across media history is something to talk about.

Season of the Witch: The Rise of Queer Magic in YA SFF – continuing with our (unexpected, but I’ll roll with it) theme of modern witchy media, this piece looks at the recurring theme of magical queer characters in YA… and how exciting it is that there’s now so much queer YA that we can identify trends within it!

The New Wave of Fantasy: How Millennial Authors are Changing the Genre – interviews with four young fantasy authors (Tori Adeyemi, Ryan La Sala, Adalyn Grace, and Hafsah Faizal) currently making a splash by bringing their own diverse spin to it.

Yuri is For Everyone: An Analysis of Yuri Demographics and Readership – yuri is just made by straight dudes for straight dudes, right? Not right! The Holy Mother of Yuri herself goes through the history of the genre and its authors and publication spaces, mapping its development and proving that yuri really is for everyone.

Tea Leaves and Dog Ears’ A Discovery of Witches recaps – the blogger who so entertained me with their “I read this goofy shit so you don’t have to” recaps and reviews of the Grey novels has returned with some witchy, vampire-y fiction, and I’m looking forward to following along.

Be Gay Do Crimes: The Mystery Story Model of Implicit Queer Storytelling – AniGay returns to dig into the history and process of “hunting for clues”, Poirot style, as a means of finding queer stories where they might not be overtly visible.

How Stars Align Offers a Fresh Narrative Model for LGBTQ+ Characters – an analysis of Yuu’s arc and how it covers their identity with nuance, and moves beyond the traditional focus on bullying, homophibia, and struggle, in favour of a queer narrative that’s allowed to simply exist nested in a greater story.

As a bonus: I’ve recently discovered the soundtrack to SIX, a pop musical about the wives of Henry VIII, and I can’t stop listening to it. Maybe it’s not the most in-depth or accurate thing ever, but goddamn does it have some bops in it (and some great puns – I can’t decide on my favourite, but “live in consort” and “ladies, let’s get in reformation” are solid contenders):

And that’s all for now – take care everyone!

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Queer YA Mini-Reviews: Soccer, Steampunk, and Survival Horror

ya mini reviews 7

And we’re back with the first trio of mini-reviews for 2020! This field continues to be a vibrant, diverse, very fun place to read: this time round we have a crew of Australian teenagers fighting off zombies, a summer camp romance, and a sci-fi-fantasy genre-blend with all the cogs and clockwork you could wish for. Read on for the thoughts and reflections… Continue reading

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The Gloriously Goofy, Geeky Girls of Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!

Eizouken (3)

In a media climate with a lot of restrictive expectations for the behavior and beauty standards of young cisgender women, there’s always something gratifying and delightful about fiction that lets female characters be goofy, expressive, and a little bit weird. 

Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!, a series about three high school girls using a school club to start their own animation studio, inspires exactly this feeling (as well as a general, inescapable sense of creative joy). Through both the character design and characterization of its three protagonists, Eizouken challenges a lot of the tropes that often loom over portrayals of nerdy, passionate teenage girls… and, if we’re being honest, teenage girls in general.

Two Eizouken posts in a row? You betcha. Read this one in full at Anime Feminist!

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Keep Your Hands off Eizouken: A Passion Project about Passion Projects

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Keep Your Hands off Eizouken! is an anime about making anime. The meta potential here is obviously off the charts, and people who know more about the industry than I do are having a whale of a time gushing about the stylistic inspirations, the obvious homages to famous works, and the general technical prowess of the show as it sets out to be a celebration of all things animated. But Eizouken can be enjoyed even if you’re not deep in the anime paint. While it’s clearly a love letter to the animation medium, above all else it’s just a love letter to the very concept of the passion project. It’s a love letter to creativity itself, to the magical act of collaboration and creation, to taking in inspiration from everything around you and transforming it, via the alchemy that is art, into something amazing. Continue reading

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Summertime Weirdness: January ’20 Roundup

EMAILS after hours

One weekend in early January, my friends and I scheduled tickets to Cats. I wish I could tell you which was more surreal: the dizzying, floaty, uncanny valley CGI depicting sleek furry bodies with conspicuously humanoid faces, hands, and feet (yep, we got the “everyone still has human hands” cut), or the haze of bushfire smoke (blowing in from the fires on the coast and national parks of New South Wales) filling the mall and the orange-tinged sky looming overhead, making it impossible to tell what time of day it was.

We were safe from the devastating fires (and still are, fingers crossed – things seemed to have calmed down overall with changing weather conditions and a lot of hard work) but were feeling their aftereffects billow around us. And, like many locals, we had taken refuge in an air-conditioned building, to take distraction from the stress of everything for a couple of hours… with dancing cats with human hands, who sometimes wore shoes and looked way more naked than if they’d been wearing nothing at all. How’d they manage that? Why was Rebel Wilson’s character like that? Why did Judi Dench stare directly into my soul in the final song?? Who was I before this film??

It would be poetic to say that this nightmarish weirdness, survived and shared with friends and loved ones, has set the tone for 2020, but the truth is I really hope things improve. The weather and the stories have been better since, so as always I’m surging forward with optimism.

On the blog:

A Big Ol’ Pile of Book Recommendations (2019) – my favourite things I read last year, through manga, novels, and nonfiction!

A Big Ol’ Pile of Anime Recommendations (2019) – my favourite series I watched last year, through fantasy, coming-of-age stories, and rom-coms!

Cool web content:

A conversation about video game literacy, and how we learn the quirks and instincts of games – and how something that seems so natural to people with a lot of practice can be as baffling as, well, learning a new form of literacy (a study I find particularly funny given that I’ve recently started trying to play Skyrim and have a lot of the same grievances as the new player in this video. But I’m having fun and learning!!).

My fam and I recently watched the new Netflix/BBC “adaptation” of Dracula, penned by our very favourite screen team Steven Moffatt and Mark Gatiss. It was certainly an experience, and it was certainly time to rewatch one of our favourite video essays afterwards.

The New Little Women Makes Space for Jo’s Queerness – the release of a new adaptation of the iconic novel has introduced me to approximately 150 years of shipping discourse, and, most interesting among it, many readers who hold the idea of Jo March Not Being Heterosexual close to their heart. This article covers nicely how the movie’s tweaking of the original ending leaves room for that interpretation to flourish, and pays homage to Louisa May Alcott along the way.

Hoshiai no Sora/Stars Align: A Story About Corporate Betrayal, but Also a Lot More – a rundown of what exactly happened with the production of Stars Align, as well as a celebration of the series’ many strengths and unique efforts in terms of storytelling and animation.

“Why would I close the door to a queer person?” LGBTQ Fantasy Comes of Age – a great piece about the increasing rise of queer speculative fiction (particularly fiction that imagines worlds where being queer Just Isn’t a Big Deal), with interviews from authors who are part of the movement.

How Eizouken Embraces the Messy Thrill of Storytelling!Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! is all about making art, and this piece looks at the creative process within the creative process and what makes it so authentic and fun. (I’m loving this show, by the way – do expect quite a number of words about it from me soon)

American Dirt is a Problem. So What’s the Solution? – a neat rundown of the conversation surrounding a recent “white lady writes racial stereotypes, earns squillions from publishing industry” controversy, and how it’s a pertinent example of how we should systematically give writers of colour the opportunity to tell their own stories rather than presuming the default “mainstream” audience is white and uninterested.

Disability Tropes to Watch Out For – a thread detailing a lot of the harmful narrative conventions that surround disabled characters, often penned and approved by abled writers.

And of course, once again, it was premiere review season!What are you guys looking forward to watching?

Bonus: this is the new best Twitter account

Take care everyone, in these strange and trying times, and I’ll see you again soon!

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