Love, Chunibyo, & Other Delusions: A Silly Yet Heartbreaking Story About the Power of Geekdom

Love Chunibyo and Other Delusions

It’s a universal fact that everyone is at least a little bit embarrassed by what they did when they were thirteen. Was it a misguided and poetic emo phase? An overzealous leap into fandom, including indulgent fanfic or fanart? An all-consuming desire to be seen as mature in your tastes that ended up just making you look pretentious? Whatever it is, despite how much this passion consumed you at the time, you’d be happy if no one ever brought it up ever again—that’s how much it makes you cringe.

There’s a Japanese word for this: chunibyo, loosely translating to “eighth-grader syndrome”, the stage of life where a sense of self-importance and newfound independence combines with passion, imagination, and a desire to be seen as special, whether that manifests as a pretentious geek phase or believing you have magic powers. It’s this phenomenon that is the core of Love, Chunibyo, and Other Delusions—a show that begins as a wacky comedy about high school embarrassment and ends up punching you (or at least, this reviewer) in the gut with a poignant story about grief and growing up.

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

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Throwback Thursdays: Black Butler’s “Jack the Ripper” Arc

Black Butler vol 2 insider cover

Recently, my fourteen-year-old self knocked on my window in the dead of night and asked me to reconsider demon butlers. Or, rather, I went to watch Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic (a movie adaptation of one of the later arcs of the manga) in the cinema with a friend, where we were both promptly reminded why we’d loved this series so much as teenagers. The Black Butler manga is more than ten years old and still going strong, and the movie reeled me back into this world of supernatural action and Victorian Era finery with enough force and finesse that I was compelled to revisit the first few volumes of the manga—the “Jack the Ripper” arc, the storyline I remember being my favorite and starring my favorite pair of villains—and dive back into this story to see if it held up. Is it still good? Certainly. Is it also riddled with problems I’m much more wary of and attuned to now that I’m older and wiser? Absolutely. 

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

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Oxenfree vs Until Dawn, the Cage Fight

oxendawn comparison

In this horror game, a group of teenagers who kind of hate each other travel to a secluded environment with no mobile reception and only one safe passage in or out (because that’s always a foolproof plan for fun). Tension is high because they’re mourning the loss of the sibling(s) of one member of the group, and people are blaming each other for their death. Two characters kind of have a thing going on and the player has the opportunity to get them together or keep them apart. Spooky things start happening, the group gets split up, and what began as a sweet fun high school romp becomes a quest to survive the night and get safely home. Is it indie ghost story Oxenfree I’m describing, or my Problematic Fave Until Dawn?

These are actually two wildly different pieces of media, but on reflection they had enough similarities that I felt a compare-and-contrast could be interesting, if only because of the first thing they have in common: supposedly I don’t even like spooky fiction, weak soul that I am, yet I loved both of these games and find myself still thinking about them enough to write another thousand-or-so words months and even years after first picking them up. The second thing these two have in common is that it feels kind of incorrect to call either of them “horror games”: Until Dawn is more of an interactive horror movie, complete with a fully-loaded arsenal of stock characters and predictable tropes from horror cinema around which it builds its existence; and Oxenfree is more of a ghost story in the traditional sense. It’s this atmospheric shift that makes comparing them so interesting, since they both manage to be fantastically engaging and frightening despite the very different ways they build their worlds and attempt to scare the pants off you. Continue reading

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Trailer Tuesdays: Life is Strange: Before the Storm

I’ve been hearing whispers about a new Life is Strange project for a while, though I couldn’t figure out how the developers would do it. A sequel was out of the question since the ending of the game is set up deliberately to take the story in two completely different directions, so making a direct Life is Strange 2 would surely be impossible unless they wanted to make two completely different games. Lo and behold, it turns out the new Life is Strange game is a prequel, focusing not on Max and her time powers but on Chloe a few years before the events of the original story. This is, all things considered, the sensible choice, though I’m intrigued and cautiously optimistic about how it will turn out.

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

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Overthinking Bargain Books: Hold Me Closer, Necromancer

necromancer

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is an old proverb that we all know, and while it’s lovely as a metaphor about acceptance and understanding, there’s an entire industry devoted to the fact that we do this literally all the time. If I’m scanning a pile or web page full of books not looking for anything specifically, I’ll pick up the ones with eye-catching, interesting covers or titles that jump out to me. This title-based method is how I ended up reading Aphrodite’s Workshop for Reluctant Lovers and The Guy, The Girl, The Artist and His Ex. I read Sellevision because it was meant to be a witty satire of home shopping channels, and I mean, it certainly was that, but it was also a bizarre and hellish rollercoaster of an experience.

Anyway, this is also how I ended up reading Hold Me Closer, Necromancer—I saw it in a sea of Book Depository sales items and went “Whoa, now, what is going on there?” It’s not just a pun, but a singable pun, and promises to be about raising the dead. A book with that much ridiculousness and black humour just in its name had to either be amazing or terrible. Unfortunately, Lish McBide’s debut novel with the delightful pun title wasn’t bad, but didn’t commit to being dreadful either, so it just ended being kind of heartbreakingly mediocre. With spontaneous cage sex. Continue reading

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Ancient Greek Army of Mums: June ’17 Roundup

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I haven’t got anything written up about it, but I just want you all to know that Wonder Woman was so damned good.

It’s been a busy month (again), full of work and writing and social gatherings and the terrifying but rewarding business of planning to move house. I’ll be entering this phase of upheaval in the middle of next month, but as always posts are scheduled in advance so the blog will be running a lot more smoothly and calmly than I probably will.

I haven’t read any novels for approximately a hundred years (or, at least since Honours started and I was reading so many words that reading more words in my spare time–even if they were fun, fictional ones–seemed like a ridiculous idea) which I feel bad about, but there’s finally going to be another Overthinking Bargain Books post! It… sure is something, friends. Watch this space.

A reminder as well that you can find me on Twitter now, where yes, I have vaguely learnt how to use Twitter! Hit that follow button for quality, witty live-tweeting like this straight to your internet doorstep:

On the Blog:

“Heroes” vs “Heroines: A Tale of Linguistics and Juicy Academic Gossip (in which I begin by roasting Joseph Campbell, then dive into the tricky issue of gendered language and implications)

Fantastical Queer Webcomics for the Soul (a companion piece to the cute romance recommendations, but this time with more ass-kicking)

Make It Gayer: ToraDora! (I told you I’d do it)

On Lady Geek Girl and Friends:

“This Town is Full of Ghosts!” The Power of Atmosphere and Landscape in Night in the Woods (in which I examine how the setting of this spooky, brilliant little game reflects its protagonist and feeds into a genuinely Gothic exploration of a dying town)

Sexualized Saturdays: Martyred Moms and Dastardly Dads in the MCU (Marvel is killing off all of its sweet and pure mothers, whereas Wonder Woman has a whole island full of Ancient Greek warrior mums. Like, I don’t want to jump into a Marvel vs DC argument, but I’m just sayin’)

Cool Junk

This month’s “next time you have two hours to kill, instead of setting up a movie please watch this” award goes to this video essay on everything wrong with Sherlock:

As you may know if you’ve been following me long enough, Sherlock entranced me when I first watched it. As with many other people, though, the shine wore off as time went on, and this essay is a very entertaining, analytical, and dare I say it, cathartic tear-apart of the famous series. This includes why it’s a faulty adaptation of the original stories (about which the presenter knows more than I do) and why it’s faulty storytelling even as a standalone piece, dipping into all sorts of juicy critical analysis including glancing back at Moffat’s earlier work to see the same quirks and flaws (I had never heard of Jekyll, and now… well, “enlightened” feels like the wrong word, but my eyes sure have been opened).

Other enthralling reads (that will take less time to consume) include a blog series Ace is doing over at LGG on the minor characters in A Song of Ice and Fire, versus their portrayal in the adaptation Game of Thrones… and how the nature of these adaptations show a fatal misunderstanding of the source material. Even the way the prologue pans out–a tiny scene about characters we only meet once–foreshadows massive ideological differences between the original books and what the show has turned the story and themes into. Alas, we should have seen all this bullshit coming… is anyone actually gearing up to watch the next season of GoT, or have we all collectively divorced it? That’s not snark, it’s a genuine question, since I’ve barely caught the faintest whiff of hype on the breeze.

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Also in the analytical realm is this article about how Psycho Pass handles mental illness so delicately and accurately until it… doesn’t, dropping the ball and basing its plot around harmful misconceptions.

This post is a brief examination of the character types most commonly found as the male leads of two geeky genres, similar but oh so different: the Extremely Mediocre Light Novel Protagonist and the Gruff Chiselled Video Game Hero. They come at masculinity from two different angles and create two very different archetypes, each annoying as each other in its own way.

Speaking of light novels, Caitlin over at Heroine Problem has personified their anime adaptations as dudes you meet in the first year of uni. Now, it’s not necessarily a genre I’m familiar with, nor, mercifully, am I familiar with the trials of on-campus living, but even I got a kick out of this (especially Sword Art Online‘s entry. Snort.).

Saffron Alexander wrote about the “space racist” trope, which having not dipped my toes into Doctor Who in a long, long time, I also wasn’t familiar with, but the article brings this issue to light very eloquently. You know a piece is good when it makes you mad about a trope you weren’t even aware of before…

Last but not least, I have never read Fahrenheit 451, but I’m always interested in examining the classics from a modern angle–so Saika’s review was a good read, if only for the fact that she calls Ray Bradbury an edgelord.

kind rewind icon

This month’s podcast recommendation is The Kind Rewind, featuring Theresa and Travis of Shmanners taking a more informal approach and talking about beloved TV shows and movies that they’re rewatching. They’re chatty and fun to listen to as well as analytical, which is always the golden combination with these sorts of things–I’m loving their commentary on Avatar: The Last Airbender, which is filling me with beautiful nostalgia and a general warm fuzzy feeling. The best place to find the episode links is through that Twitter I linked up there, but of course they’re available on all podcasting apps and iTunes and all that jazz.

And, because three mentions is the charm, Spirits did a great episode about the mythology behind Wonder Woman, including a fantastic interview with her current head writer! They also covered The Rainbow Snake this month, which, while the episode itself gets a bit tangential (it’s informal storytelling between friends; it’s just part of the Spirits brand) it was pretty cool to hear some Australian folklore on there for the first time.

Before I sign off, I want to thank everyone who’s been reading this little blog–WordPress tells me I’ve hit the milestone of 1,000 Likes, so that’s exciting! A special shoutout to users Rambling Kori, RJ Bailey, Artemis, Mythos, and those other familiar faces that I see popping up in my notifications time and again (and an extra special shoutout to Mythos, who is one of the few people to interact with my Twitter nonsense); and to the people who got into a really interesting discussion about lady villains over on my latest LGG post. If you don’t have means to hit the Like button but still read along, whether that’s regularly clicking through or just popping by occasionally, you are still very much appreciated!

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Make It Gayer: ToraDora! (a.k.a The “Minorin Probably Isn’t Straight” Post)

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If you followed my episode-by-episode reviews/recaps of ToraDora!, you’ve known this was coming for a while. If you haven’t followed my episode-by-episode reviews/recaps of ToraDora!, nothing to worry about: they aren’t required reading, though this post is the culmination of some thoughts and observations I had while rewatching the show. Namely, hey, wow, Minorin isn’t very straight, is she? Or at least, there’s no reason why she has to be.

As with my previous Make It Gayers, this post will be half textual analysis and half “look, why not? What if?ToraDora! is a delightfully tangled-up love quadrangle that could only get more delightfully tangled with the addition of LGBTQ+ affections, and having Minorin be secretly in love with a girl rather than a boy doesn’t actually change her character arc, the themes of the show, or indeed any of the plot. If anything, her secretly being in love with a girl makes more sense than secretly being the third character in the show to fall for Ryuji, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves… Continue reading

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