With more content being produced on this site, I’ve become aware that it might become a bit of a rabbit warren to find posts as they pile up. So from now on I’m going to start doing monthly roundups so recent works are all aggregated in a handy-dandy list, and I can recommend and link to cool things to read, listen to, or watch that I’ve come across and want to share. This month, mythology, magical girls, cute demons, podcasts galore, and learning way more than I ever expected to about School Days…
And, of course, my brand new shiny banner went up yesterday (only took me five years to change from the theme’s default…) thanks to Jess Rose! Check out the rest of her stuff here.
Here on The Afictionado:
The Art of Being Self-Aware (in which screw you, The World God Only Knows)
Platonically in Love with Radio Silence (in which I have a lot of feelings about friendship in YA, and this novel in particular)
Swan Maidens, Dragon Maids, and Screwing with Gendered Expectations (in which I apply folk tale theories to trashy magic-domestic anime)
On Anime Feminist:
The Problem with the Dark Magical Girl Genre (in which I look in-depth at the magical girl genre’s power of optimism, and how various new works are taking great joy in tearing that apart for edginess’ sake)
On Lady Geek Girl:
Web Crush Wednesdays: Spirits (in which this one mythology podcast is really cool, guys)
Cute Demon Crashers Set to Return with Cute, Comfy and Consensual Queer Content (in which I express my love for this little indie smut game and excitement for its gay sequel)
Until Dawn and the Indestructible White Guy (you thought I was finished dragging Until Dawn? Nope. In fact now I’m doing it on other people’s websites)
Fun Things I Discovered This Month:
Trash and Treasures, a podcast where three friends watch movies or TV shows cast to the wayside and either end up tearing them apart or celebrating their underrated beauty (often both). Without meaning to, I’ve learnt a hell of a lot about Disney through listening to this, particularly the studio’s weird dark era/renaissance that occurred in the tumultuous but ever-so-hip ‘80s. The episode on School Days was also… well, I feel like “enlightening” is entirely the wrong word, but I sure did learn a lot.
Because I’ve actually learnt how podcasts work now, I also discovered Still Buffering, in which three sisters discuss the trials, tribulations and various pop culture Things of teenaged-ness in different eras. The episode where the legendary (but oh so sweet and down to earth) Lin-Manuel Miranda guest stars to talk about being a theatre kid is particularly charming.
Other good listening material includes Stuff Mom Never Told You, a gender studies focused podcast looking in-depth at everything from the history of the pin-up girl to queer characters in romantic comedies and a whole pile of political, cultural and biological discussions too.
I also found Erica Friedman’s website Okazu, a go-to cover-all zone for wlw content in Japanese media, primarily manga and anime, and I found it via Erica’s smart words in ANN Cast’s episode on LGBTQ+ representation in anime (where I learnt, among other interesting things, that I’ve been pronouncing ‘Utena’ wrong for my entire internet existence)
And, though it’s not a new discovery, it’s always a good time to plug Defenders of the Faith, a project (intended to be short illustrated novels) that reimagines historical queens and women rulers as magical girls! So far we’ve seen detailed and adorable designs of Marie Antoinette, the Romanov sisters, and beloved postergirl Queen Victoria among other fine ladies, with the next designs in the works billed as Lililoukalani, the last queen of Hawaii, and Enhedduana, Sumerian princess, poet, and world’s first astronomer. You can find them on the blog linked there and their Facebook page too.
Nifty reading material:
- Elisabeth O’Neill responds (in part) to my AniFem article and explores one of the ideas that Madoka Magica did well in its descent into the dark side of the genre–the intensity and pressure of growing up and having to suddenly cope with grief and responsibility
- You know Sword Art Online and the geek-boy fantasy fulfillment it represents? Turns out that the “lost in a fantasy world” genre actually comes from distinctly shoujo roots, as Caitlin Moore describes in this very educational post
- Remember Hatsune Miku and the Vocaloid craze? I sure do. While I personally haven’t interacted with it for many years, the Miku machine is still going strong, and is now being used as a platform to examine and deconstruct fan and idol culture in an exhibition in Europe, which The Backloggers write about here
- For some thesis-length anime meta, see Lance’s exploration of Fate/Grand Order‘s portrayal of Scathach
- Want to understand exactly what people mean when they say “the gender binary” and why it doesn’t always work/is a harmful way of thinking (I sure learnt a lot!)? See Zinnia Jones’ explanation of the Gender Axis (of Evil)
- Friendships between ladies are great, and we should 100% keep depicting them in media, but Shannon Miller makes the intriguing argument that we should also be allowing and exploring more complex and grey relationships between women on TV as well
- “When romantic love becomes a universal, convenient motivator, it becomes both unexamined and a silent expectation looming over us: it is a well that can always be drawn upon, even when there may be something else that would better suit a story.” Natalie Ritter asks why romance is integral to so many stories, and asks where people who don’t experience romantic attraction can find themselves in fiction on Gay YA
- Lady Saika neatly sums up the Nick Spencer Nonsense phase Marvel comics are currently in and why it’s such nonsense (because “Captain America was a Nazi all along” isn’t self-explanatory enough for some people…)
Finally, in the wake of Sunrise’s cringe-inducing segment on cosplay where the panel of hosts exclaimed “we’re not actually sure what’s going on here, wow, isn’t this weird!!” rather than attempting to even pretend they’d done any research or were interested in the subject of their show, it’s always a good time to watch The Try Guys and see this kind of thing done well (both in that it’s funny, but respectful, and also Eugene continues to dazzle me in that he looks good in literally every “ridiculous” outfit or trend this show puts him in. Turns out he also makes one hell of a Sailor Mars).
And of course so, so many academic articles. Including a whole 300-page PhD dissertation on why Cu Chullain’s wife Emer is The Best, because you can do that when you’re a PhD student.