February ’21 Roundup

At the end of January, I travelled to the south coast of New South Wales for a few days – a traditional holiday haunt for my family, but one I hadn’t been able to visit for two years owing first to bushfires and then to pandemic conditions. Feeling safe by the sea brings a certain amount of peace, I can tell you that much. And the trip also provided some surreal views that I’m going to take as omens or metaphors for the year ahead: whole mountainsides covered in blackened trees sprouting new growth. Clumsy, fuzzy baby greenery was curling out of burnt tree trunks all along the drive in. It was a frightening reminder of the loss that area had endured, but also kind of hopeful. At the risk of being sappy (who am I kidding? You follow this blog, you know I’m a massive sap) I’m going to take that energy on board. Our bark is blackened, but we’re going to grow back.

On the blog

A Big OI’ Pile of Anime Recommendations (2020) – a slightly belated list of my favourite series I watched in 2020, from sweet sapphic romances to murdery mind games.

Queer YA Spotlight: The Lost Coast – a dreamy, witchy, nonlinear book about magic, finding your place, and the deep and ancient terror of trees.

On AniFem

Yuri Manga Variety Hour – I make my podcasting debut swapping recommendations of comics where ladies fall in love! Now with a transcript for easy access!

High-Rise Invasion – Episode 1 – a schlocky, fan servicey sci-fi show with the fastest damsel-to-badass character development I’ve ever seen

Once more, I am reading books: falling in love with The Falling in Love Montage, satisfying the place in my brain where Until Dawn lives rent-free with Even if We Break, having loads of ghosty fun with Cemetery Boys, and still chugging diligently through Otherside Picnic.

The Webzone

What in the goddamn hell did they do to Winx Club? Is this the “dark and gritty magical girl” concept finally making itself known in European/American media?

We’ve definitely all come across the twee, colourful, minimalist human figures quickly becoming known as “the corporate art style”, but why exactly does it feel so soulless, and how does it differ from other flat and minimalist art styles of bygone eras?

Madoka, Wonder Egg Priority, and the Future of Late-night Magical Girl Shows – speaking of dark and gritty magical girls… a decade on from Madoka Magica, Adam Wescott ponders whether its lasting legacy is less in the “cruel things happening to cute girls” knockoffs and more in surreal psychological adventures like FLIP FLAPPERS and Wonder Egg Priority.

Blue Flag vs. Our Dreams At Dusk: A look at LGBT+ Representation and its Audience – a comparison of two queer manga series, one of which seems to be more heartfelt and nuanced when it comes to its issues, the other of which feels more like a “did you know homophobia is no good?” primer for a presumed straight readership.

Transgender People, “Gay Conversion” and “Lesbian Extinction”: What the Data Show – Julia Serano, eloquent as always, rebuts a recent take about how “lesbians are going extinct” because they’re all transitioning into men, with plenty of stats on hand.

Why is Akane Tsunemori a Cop? – an analysis of Psycho-Pass through a police abolitionist lens, examining what exactly the cyberpunk police procedural has to say about police.

If there’s one thing I’ve been enjoying even more than watching The Egg Show every week, it’s reading analysis of the episodes from different people’s perspectives. So here are some of those:

Monsters in Wonder Egg Priority Episodes 1 – 4 – as well as delving into symbolism and flower language, Emily also has this great deep-dive into the social pressures and systems that the monsters represent.

Wonder Egg Priority & Utena – 1. The Prince – Ego and Reward – also part of a series, mapping the similar themes (and inspirations) between the two series. This introductory post takes us into the realm of heroic princes and helpless maidens who need rescuing, and how the egg-gacha system draws the girls into these roles with an empty promise of redemption.

Steve Jones’ episodic reviews have also been super insightful and eloquent, and I’ve very much been awaiting the new one each week.

I want to tell you that I have some fun new hit song stuck in my head this month, but the truth is it’s Nick Lutsko’s remix of Alex Jones rants into a folk song. Not the best lyrics to have on loop in your brain, but the tune really gets you, and Lutsko hasn’t had to work too hard to convey the absurdity of everything this man says.

That’s all folks – take care and I’ll see you soon in another post!

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