Well, it had to happen eventually–I’ve been running this blog for more than five years and I’ve never taken an official break except when I was travelling. The closest I came was dropping from one post a week to one post every two weeks, a change I decided on when I was getting into the thick of my undergrad degree. Though it’s also a change I promptly ignored, since I still committed to doing episodic reviews every week for a good portion of that year, which… actually meant I was doing even more writing than usual. Honest to goodness, how did I pump out a post per week? Obviously not all of them were very good, but still, the sheer output impresses me. Oh, the unstoppable vigour of youth… or something…
The long and short of it is, my blogging practices have changed over time. It used to be that I could stack up a bunch of posts in a queue, often a couple of month’s worth, and be sitting pretty waiting for them to go live. Recently, I’ve been… I think the official term is “flying by the seat of my pants”, at least more than before; looking at WordPress’ little calendar and seeing it empty and wondering where another two weeks went, catching myself thinking “crap, I need to come up with something to fill up the blog queue”. I’ve also become way pickier and more self-conscious of what I post, which means more drafts than ever before are being discarded since I’m not happy with them, and I either send them back for reworking or just never let them see the light of Internet day. It means I’m quite proud of what I do post, and these posts are often longer, more in-depth, and more polished. This skew towards quality over quantity–the reverse of my early blogging days–is a positive one, but it does mean that a lot more work and time is going into this thing, and I’m forcing myself to admit that it’s not always time that I have.
So I’m taking a break. Oof, it hurts to do it, but I think it will be for the best. Let’s say there will be no posts over September, which will give me time to come up with ideas at my leisure and stack them in the queue rather than frantically hammering articles out because I feel I ought to. I’d like to get back to the post-per-fortnight schedule after this holiday, since I enjoy the consistency of it, but we shall see. A month can be a long time, but it can also vanish out from underneath you the moment you look away. What do you mean semester has started again? What do you mean I have to give a presentation in three weeks? What do you mean we’re already at episode eight of the anime season??
…you see where I’m at.
In any case, dear reader, I will see you on the flipside. And of course I’ll still be dicking around on Twitter if you want to hear from me.
On the ol’ blog
Community Season 3: A Study in Weirdness and Parody, Made With Love – what exactly made the sitcom’s third and most buck-wild season so impactful, fun, and interesting?
O Maidens in Your Savage Season and “Not Like Other Girls” Syndrome – how Sonezaki’s plotline seems to be unpacking the toxic, isolating trope of “the bookish heroine versus the bitchy girls” that crops up in YA and other teen media.
Queer YA Mini-Reviews: Broadswords, Birdwatching, and Band Geeks – a look at Once & Future, Silhouette of a Sparrow, and This Song is (Not) For You.
Bonus! I recommended a novel for every day of the month over on Tweeter. I swear I have read and enjoyed more than 30 books throughout my long love of reading, but this was sometimes very difficult. It also helped me realise how many books I haven’t read that I still want to, so if you have any recs of your own based on this palette of my tastes, feel free to shoot them my way!
Around the web
Let’s dive into some video content…
In the wake of the movie trailer, this has been doing the rounds–it makes for a very neat introduction to the musical Cats, beloved and baffling to many including me (this actually serves to clarify some plot/character beats that I hadn’t even picked up on with the many times I watched the filmed version as a kid!).
So… how ’bout that Game of Thrones thing that wrapped up a little while ago? In an hour-long deep dive, Lindsay Ellis lays out and picks apart what exactly went so pear-shaped about the end up the series. Her first video looked at this more broadly, but this one looks at individual character arcs (which is fair enough, considering the show was supposedly character-driven…).
This is much more poignant than the clickbaity thumbnail might suggest. A retrospective on AnoHana nearly ten years after it aired, part analysis and part personal story of the show’s emotional and cathartic impact. What does it tell us about grief? About play and childhood and the mirage of maturity? About art and the different conversations that it can have with each viewer? Am I crying about AnoHana again? Yes, yes I am.
Again, goofy title card aside, this is an intriguing look at the genre of “world making” games that, in fact, have you laying down infrastructure on a world that already exists. Do these games unintentionally come from, and encourage, a colonial mindset? Even if it’s just in a fantasy space? There is no easy answer, but it’s certainly an interesting thing to think about.
Kase-san and Queer Thirst: Depicting Sexuality in a “Pure” Yuri Manga – how good ol’ Kase-san tells a story about teen sexuality without sexualising its teenaged cast.
Golden Age Superheroes Were Shaped by the Rise of Fascism – an important, and artful, reminder of the origins of many of our favourite superheroes, and that statements like “we’re trying to keep politics out of comics” are inherently false and harmful.
The Post-War Kids: Anime After Annihilation – Dominic looks at a few iconic series and films (from Kids on the Slope to AKIRA to Astro Boy) that respond to the massive cultural shift that occurred in Japan after it was bombed and occupied by the US military, exploring post-nuclear tension and the building of a new national identity through sci-fi, music, and many other art expressions.
And there goes August. As always, take care, and I’ll see you on the other side of the hiatus!