Here we are, gang: we got through January, which means we’re one big step into a new year. No one can say what it will bring, but all we can do is hope and fight for the best. If nothing else, I finished writing a book (or, well, the book-length draft manuscript that will hopefully become a book when it’s done being part of a PhD) so I’m going to force that into the shape of a good omen for productivity and success for the coming year—and you’re welcome to take it as one as well!
On the blog
Adventures in the Uncanny with Otherside Picnic – how the most eerie monster in this horror series is the setting itself
Queer YA Spotlight: Out of Salem – a recommendation of Hal Schrieve’s heartfelt and harrowing tale of queer “monstrosity”
Winter 2021 Three Episode Check-in – I sat out of premiere reviews this time round to devote my time and brain to above-mentioned book, but I chimed in with my thoughts on Otherside Picnic and Wonder Egg Priority at the three-ep mark!
I also read some books – I’m getting through the Otherside Picnic novels chapter by chapter, week by week to compare them to the anime adaptation; gushing about the prose in The Lost Coast; and over in my When We Were Magic livetweet I extoll the virtues of letting your protagonists be a bit evil. You know, as a treat.
Web content for perusal
We all know Cats was atrocious, and the criticism most often about the bad CGI… but how does this musical fail on a musical level?
I have fond, if bemused, memories of Digimon: The Movie, which were later smoothed out by learning that it was never really meant to be a movie. This video dives into the film’s tangled production history, and how it’s a hugely impressive feat of editing and localisation and a perfect time capsule for anime in the early ’00s.
EX-ARM is the season’s latest meme, but what exactly went down in the production side of things for it to look so abysmal? It’s a wild ride for sure.
This person staged an intricate production of Hamilton in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The amount of time and effort and wrangling that must have gone into this is staggering to me, plus it’s very fun.
Is Lucky Star rewatchable? (some thoughts about how anime curation and viewing has changed) – a retrospective on the beautiful, weird time capsule that is Lucky Star and how the way audiences engage with anime has totally changed since the era that it encapsulates.
Wonder Egg Priority‘s Exquisite Corpse – a look at the visually stunning premiere and how it draws inspiration from the works of Kyoto Animation in its characterisation, visual language, and strong attention to little humanising details… using all those techniques to humanise the surreal and macabre drama at the story’s heart. (For more on the Ikuhara connection that post mentions, you can read this one!)
Did EX-ARM Censor a Same-sex Kiss, or is it Just Completely incompetent? – a neat, short summary of maybe the funniest piece of anime discourse to cross my feed in a while.
Laid-Back Camp Season 2, Episodes 1 – 3 – a review of the opening to season two of the world’s cosiest hobby anime, focusing eloquently on the sensory storytelling that makes its world feel so inviting.
And, while I sat out of premiere reviews this time round, the team did an excellent job as always and they’re all available to read here! What series will you be following this season?
This year I’m going to do a new thing where every time I write a roundup post, I’m going to include the song currently stuck in my head. I don’t blog about music but still like sharing what I enjoy, so I figure this will be a fun way to do that!
Take care as always, and I’ll see you on the flipside.