ToraDora! #25: Heaven Help the Fool Who Falls in Love

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The end begins with Ya-chan bursting through the front door of her parents’ house, because Taiga left her a fake phone message saying Ryuji had been injured in a car accident. Ryuji is fine, and because nothing brings people together like casual deceit, suddenly three generations of his family are all stuck in one place where they manage to reconcile and grow. Continue reading

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Letting Boys Cry

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One of the first things Yuri Katsuki does onscreen is cry. His establishing character moment is him weeping uncontrollably in a bathroom, the picture of vulnerability and hopelessness, after doing badly at the Grand Prix. And he doesn’t stop crying, either—his tears, and his anxiety, return time and again over the series, and while he eventually learns to handle this anxiety as his confidence is nurtured, the narrative never really presents this emotion and his expression of it as a bad thing or a weakness. Yuri is a highly expressive, emotional young man, and the show he’s in lets him be that. And that’s quite a rare thing to see in fiction, let alone from the protagonist of a sports anime—surely one of the most manly genres out there, given that they’re all about feats of physical prowess!

It seems paradoxical to have the protagonist of something in the action genre—be it sports or superheroes—cry, because crying is, well, such a non-masculine and non-heroic trait. Journalist Ben Blatt recently released the findings of a study on word use in books, which found that, among other things, women were commonly described as “sobbing” but men almost never were, especially when the novel in question was written by a man. The study suggests that “Male authors seem, consciously or not, to hold that if ‘real men don’t cry,’ then ‘fictional men don’t sob’.”

And yet there’s Yuri, sobbing—and not the only man to do so in that show either. Granted, a lot of Yuri!!! on Ice plays with and strays from what we would consider “manly” (dancing, themes of love, throwing away strict conventions of gender presentation with Viktor’s long hair and flower crowns, etc.), but this departure from gendered expectations is still worth noting. Usually, the perception is that boys don’t cry. Crying is a sissy thing to do, an unmanly thing to do, a girly thing to do, and society says the accepted and desirable alternative is to bottle up your feelings or project them outwards onto other people. This is one of the neatest examples of toxic masculinity you can find: being emotional is somehow feminine, and, of course, that that makes it bad.

Head to Lady Geek Girl and Friends for the full article!

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My Favourite Anime: ToraDora!

The cast of ToraDora

There’s a certain giddy rush you feel—partly validation, partly just reborn joy—when you rewatch something you loved when you were younger and discover that it’s actually still good.

I first watched ToraDora! approximately nine years ago, in a very different time of life, and something about its themes and characters was so emotionally resonant that it burrowed into my heart and has stayed there ever since. I recently rewatched it, and was a little relieved to see I hadn’t overhyped it in my memory—while it’s not a perfect show, it’s still poignant, funny and relatable, even though I’m no longer in high school myself.

In some ways watching while older made it more resonant, since I was able to look back with a degree of self-awareness I couldn’t the first time. And hey, you don’t just have one coming-of-age moment and then wake up as a fully functioning, emotionally sorted out adult—it’s a constant process, which explains the pulling power of a show like this. That, and the romantic comedy shenanigans, which are pretty damn great.

Elisabeth and Dominic are taking a hiatus from the Little Anime Blog, so I’m pitching in and contributing to the My Favourite Anime series! Head over there for the full post.

My regular, more long-winded ToraDora! posts will conclude next week. Who’s pumped?

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ToraDora #24: Boy, That Escalated Quickly

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It’s happening, people. It’s happening. Continue reading

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Cute Queer Webcomics for the Soul

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I think we can all agree that the Tragic Sad Dead Gays genre isn’t welcome these days (not to say that it was ever totally welcome, but given the progress of time and sensibilities, this sentiment has become much more mainstream). Instead, a whole bunch of creators are embracing the idea that LGBTQ+ folks are just as capable of being protagonists in stories with happy endings, and stories across an exciting range of genres. This week, we zoom in on the romantic dramedy—tales of love, growth, and shenanigans set in a world recognisable as ours. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, it’ll change your life—or, maybe you’ll just enjoy some sweet queer content, able to relax with the knowledge that a respectful handling and happy ending is in sight.

As I’ve said before, I feel weird writing about stories that aren’t yet finished, and as all the webcomics below are ongoing, I can’t review them in good conscience because I haven’t seen the full story. Consider these not reviews, then, but recommendations of a few little gems I’ve found this year that I find particularly delightful so far, and that I invite you to jump into and come along for the ride as they progress. Continue reading

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Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid: A Cute, Fun, Trashy Domestic Comedy… with Dragons!

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“Slice of life with a sprinkling of the supernatural” has long been my favorite genre, though it’s harder to find than you might think. Most often fantasy authors choose to take things in an epic direction, flinging their protagonists out of their ordinary day-to-day existence into some sort of magic adventure, giving them high stakes to deal with. Granted, that’s generally what makes for an engaging fantasy story, but sometimes you’re looking for something that’s more relaxed and grounded in recognizable daily struggles. Sometimes you just want to see an all-powerful otherworldly monster do her grocery shopping without having to worry about a big scary epic background plot, you know?

If this is the case, you might want to take a gander at Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid. It’s cute, funny, follows the beats of a slice-of-life show to a T while managing to feel fresh, and while fantastical elements are interwoven inescapably into the plot, the main focus is not so much on magic but on interpersonal relationships and exploring the everyday domestic delights of a found family. Its sense of humor is sometimes incredibly skeezy (read: sexual harassment of minors played for laughs) and it may or may not be as gay as we all wanted (though it comes pretty damned close) but overall it’s quite a sweet and pleasant viewing experience. And there are dragons!

Jump to Lady Geek Girl and Friends for the full review!

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ToraDora! #23: Patron Saint of Teen Drama

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ToraDora! has a way of messing with its stock episodes. Two people nearly drowned in the pool arc, the beach episodes were haunted, the school festival was rife with heartbreak and melancholy, and the hunt for a missing person somewhat soured the class field trip. It’s reasonable to expect that the Valentine’s Day episode shouldn’t go any better, and though nobody comes close to death, that would be a pretty accurate assumption… Continue reading

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