Here lies the last roundup of the year, which means it’s also the last roundup of the decade! At time of writing, I’m in the exhausted, cheese-filled haze that you get between Christmas and New Year’s, so I won’t turn this into a great introspective piece. But I will say that 2019 was A Lot, as I’m sure it was for a lot of people. It’s been a big year for personal growth and self-confidence, as well as career stuff: I’m now officially A Published Scholar, with two papers out; I travelled to two conferences and presented at both; I’ve been teaching all year; and I restructured (read: wrangled) the creative component of my creative research so it’s much less daunting. I suffered a wee bit of burnout in the middle of the year. I wrote a whole bunch of fiction that I wasn’t supposed to be writing, but was a whole lot of fun (and said to myself, hey, that’s still productive, even if it’s not the project I have real deadlines for…). I read a bunch. I’m going to see Cats this weekend and I’m ready to ring in the new year with friends and loved ones among art and chaos. All in all, it’s been wild, but it’s been good… and really that’s all you can ask for, isn’t it?
On the blog:
Stars Align, a Sincere “Underdog” Story – in which a little anime about an ailing middle school tennis team manages to legitimately tell a heartfelt story of marginalisation and hardship, when other YA-aimed properties can often miss the mark.
The Trickster Archetype in Popular Culture, Part Four: The Trickster is YOU! – these posts are back, this time feat. everyone’s favourite troublemaking waterbird!
Bonus: my favourite posts from 2019
Assassins, Outlaws, and Narratives of Autonomy and Vulnerability
Bloom Into You (and Me), a Story About How Representation is Important
Headcanons, Queer Readings, and the Art of “Reading Too Much Into Things”
Land of the Lustrous as a Story About Burnout
Love and Also Monsters: The Emotional Priorities of Type-Moon’s Fantasy
Not “Just a Phase”: How Bloom Into You Challenges Common Yuri Tropes
Rewriting the Script: Revue Starlight‘s Rejection of Tragic Queer Tropes
And a shoutout too to all the queer YA mini-reviews, which were fun to write and hopefully helped someone out there find something that was fun to read, too! There will be more to come!
Cool web content:
You know me, I love some social history – and I’m a bit of a sap, so sometimes you will catch me loving weddings as well. Safiya’s fashion history videos are always well-researched, well-rounded, and very fun, and in this one she returns to the field with a special focus on the evolution of the wedding dress from the 1890s to the 1980s (what we learn: time is a circle, clothes can tell us so much about the everyday life of a past era, and wigs are a powerful ally).
As 2020 approaches, “x of the decade” articles abound – Polygon’s games of the decade roundup is particularly funny and charming.
“But why is Riverdale‘s writing so cringey?” Why indeed? This user attempts to break down the issues with the show’s bizarre plots, over-the-top dialogue, and the way it sassily acknowledges its own use of cliche while still clinging to them.
The Marvel Juggernaut: With Great Power Comes Zero Responsibility – an exploration of Disney-Marvel’s monstrous, all-consuming presence in the film industry, and how they’re squeezing out creative risk-taking as well as moves towards diversity; using a lot of the conservative choices from Endgame as demonstration.
Steven Universe Future is Doing Something TV Shows Just Don’t Do – a look at how SU’s continuation takes the time to address the messy, personal aftermath of the series’ big conflict and climax, where most other shows – particularly big-stakes sci-fi and fantasy ones – finish after the final battle and wrap things up swiftly (and sometimes haphazardly).
LGBTQIAP YA 2020 Preview: January – June – a handy-dandy roundup of forthcoming queer YA releases! There are so many!! Look forward to seeing mini-reviews of some of these in future, because I’m certainly excited to read them.
The Decade Fandom Went Corporate – how the way fans are seen by big companies has shifted over the past ten years-ish, and how (certain kinds of) fandom is increasingly being monetised.
Round and Round Like Dancing Laundry – Carole & Tuesday – how the space-musical uses its music and lyrics to convey characterisation and emotion, even if those lyrics aren’t the most profound things in the universe.
Carole & Tuesday and Bad Representation – a rundown of aforementioned space-musical’s failings when it comes to queer rep, despite appearing diverse – particularly how it makes its LGBTQ+ characters villains in situations where, in reality, they’re more often victims.
#100 Days of Yuri – a bountiful pile of recommendations from the blog Yuri Mother, collated nicely in one hashtag.
Review: Sexiled! My Sexist Party Leader Kicked Me Out So I Teamed Up With a Mythical Sorceress! – exactly what the title implies, focusing on how the novel uses the “power fantasy” structure of its genre to tackle very real issues, giving it a lot more heart and heft than a lot of “teen boy goes on adventure and gets big sword” light novels.
Anime Feminist’s Top 25 Anime of the Decade – a definitive set of recommendations from the team… and some extra, personal favourites that didn’t quite make the list, too.
And so we roll on into 2020. This year, we’re making art, taking care of each other, and making sure we get enough sleep. Let’s make it happen, gang!