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Anime Feminist’s Recommendations of Fall 2022

From hobby shows to historical fantasy, check out the team’s faves from last year’s stacked final season!

Read the full post on AniFem!

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Premiere Review | Futsal Boys!!!!!

What’s it about? Haru had no interest in the sport of futsal until a friend dragged him to see an under-18s championship game, where Haru was blown away by the sheer cool factor of one of the star players. Now, despite being firmly an amateur, he loves futsal—enough to dive into an impromptu game against some bullies, and enough to catch the eye of the school team’s captain.

To steal a joke from my co-staffer Dee, it sure is convenient that they decided to cut out the middleman and officially title this show with the nickname it was going to get anyway. Boy howdy, gosh darn, these sure are boys who play futsal. There’s not a whole lot more to say about this episode, so my condolences go out to anyone looking for an engaging, dynamic sports anime this season. Nothing about this show is exciting enough to warrant five whole exclamation points.

Read the full review on AniFem!

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Get in the Robot: November ’21 Roundup

Ever notice how November is always flurrying with nominations and announcements and fancy curated lists of “best XYZ of the year”? I respect the efficiency, but you’re not fooling me. 2021 ain’t over yet. There’s one month left in this sucker and I’m going to spend each day of it the best that I can!

That said, my “best XYZ of the year” posts are scheduled for a few weeks away. So look forward to those! In the meantime, enjoy what I, and others, put out into the world this past 30 days:

On the blog

Queer YA Spotlight: Gearbreakers – giant robots, dystopian governments, and girls falling in love.

What Are We Talking About When We Talk About “Good Representation”? – a musing on how “is this good rep?” is not a yes-or-no question, despite online discussions often boiling it down to such.

On AniFem

General Feminist-Friendly Manga Recommendations – a list of series with intersectional feminist adjacent themes for your reading enjoyment. Check out my review of Witch Hat Atelier and the recommendations from the rest of the team!

In the International Journal of Young Adult Literature

Playing with Genre and Queer Narrative in the Novels of Malinda Lo – a new scholarly paper, free to read (woo! Open access!) about the metatextual magic at work in these novels that switch sapphic protagonists into genres usually considered “mainstream” and thus “straight by default”.

Bonus bookchats: I dip my toes into Discworld with (the very good) Monstrous Regiment, munch and crunch through The Heartbreak Bakery (feat. my cat, who decided to sit in the middle of the open book like it was made only as a pillow for him), and get spooked by the Hometown Haunts anthology.

Around the web

Dinotopia was a pivotal childhood favourite of mine and I NEVER KNEW it had a weird but deeply charming adventure game adaptation. Simone shines a spotlight on this forgotten fossil of the FMV era.

What can a deep look at the MCU tell us about how Hollywood tells stories about war (and love, and glory, and destiny) and what does that have to do with the surreal and haunting works of Russian arthouse filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky? There’s a connection here, I promise. Let Ms Fish take you on a scholarly and magical journey.

It is Possible for Eternals to Be Both Diverse and Bad – the latest MCU movie has its most inclusive casting yet, a milestone that makes criticisms of it hard to hear. But what if the film itself isn’t that great? Gita Jackson unpacks how these two facets can and should co-exist, and Disney cannot use diversity as a shield to legitimate critique.

The Importance of Centring Black Fans when Discussing YasukeYasuke is, in theory, a really cool series that does a lot to advance Black representation in anime and brings a lesser-known historical hero to light. Except the show doesn’t do that (at least not as well as it could). Kerine Wint examines its failures to its lead character, and how these were often overlooked by non-Black reviewers.

Will the Perfect Men’s Dress Ever Exist – and Would Men Wear It? – non-female celebrities are increasingly trekking up red carpets in gowns, prompting the question if “dresses for dudes” are coming into fashion. Lydia Edwards (author of the fantastic historical costume guide How to Read a Dress!) explores this, pointing out that our current concept of “masculine” fashion is relatively recent and by no means universal or immovable.

The Uncanny Reality of Virtual Homecomings – how games as a medium let us explore strange places that should be familiar, namely the eerie childhood homes and hometowns featured in titles in Night in the Woods and Gone Home.

#AnitwitKKK: When Trolling is Just White Supremacy in Disguise – Bracy breaks down the backlash against the #Blacktober art challenge and how it’s emblematic of the insidious “just trolling” brand of online racial violence.

Five Sapphic Fantasies That Helped Me Find my Freedom – author Adrienne Tooley expresses what is so wonderful and personally compelling about speculative worlds where wlw can exist freely as the complex heroines of their own epic tales.

Cowboy Bebop – Live Action – did I mention last time that I always enjoy Steve’s reviews? This provides a succinct snapshot of everything that’s a bit off about Netflix’s new spin on the anime classic.

The song stuck in my head this month is Z Berg’s ‘All Out of Tears’, a breakup song with some hypnotic mime action going on in the music vid.

And that’s all for now, folks—see you on the flipside for the final posts of 2021!

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2021 Spring Premiere Digest

The exciting and harrowing storm that is New Anime Season is passing, leaving us to settle into the wave of new stories as they unfold over the next 13 – 24 weeks.

Here you’ll find all the AniFem reviews (including mine) in one place, organised by their potential. If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out the team’s hard work!

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Deadlines, the Spookiest Monster: October ’20 Roundup

Here we are once more – October is Octover, bringing to a close a month of anime reviews, lectures, and spooky-themed events that kind of don’t mean anything here in Australia, but have a great aesthetic nonetheless. Look below for all the writing I did around the internet this month, as well as some fun content other people have made that I want to highlight!


Alice Oseman and the Revolutionary Power of the Platonic Love Story – in which AZE journal (formerly The Asexual) lets me gush about this author’s work, including the recent (and ass-kicking) aro-ace coming-of-age story Loveless.

AniFem premiere reviews:

Adachi and Shimamura – in which a couple of teen girl delinquents reluctantly come to care for one another, among pretty art and a healthy dose of whimsy

Assault Lily: Bouquet – in which schoolgirls fight robots between large chunks of exposition and fan service

D4DJ: First Mix – in which there is a school-sanctioned rave and a love of music

Dropout Idol Fruit Tart – in which a bunch of washed-up stars are forced to form an idol group in order to… uh… not become homeless?

Talentless Nana – in which The Twist is the most fun part, but I can’t talk about that in a review and I experience pain

Three Episode Check-in – in which I return to cast my opinion over a sports anime, a bear-themed isekai, and the tale of a girl who just wants to get some sleep.

Webbed content

Dispelling some lingering myths (well, lingering in some parts of the anime community) about literal translation and censorship. Everything is 4Kids’ fault.

The iconography of the pointy black witch hat us ubiquitous, but where exactly did it come from? Costume historian Abby Cox does an academic, yet very accessible, deep dive into the history of this garment and its associations.

In a follow-up to last month’s shredding of Mulan 2020, Xiran returns to the source and celebrates Mulan 1998, and how “authenticity” isn’t the be all and end all of making a good movie. (God, Mulan 1998 is a good movie)

Why Should Trans People Trust Non-trans Authors to Lead the Conversation About Our Identities? – why indeed? A look at the most recent transition-story-by-cis-writer-goes-bestseller case, and the delicate line between authors being empathetic to other experiences versus talking over actual people who have had that experience.

The Rise of Gender-Inclusive Pronouns and Language in Literature – an overview and a series of author interviews about the increasing presence of trans characters (binary and non) in fiction, and how these books are embracing the elastic nature of language to articulate those identities.

Imposter Syndrome Isn’t Real, But I Call Mine ‘Beryl’ – The Thesis Whisperer explores perfectionism and failure avoidance (with many hashtag relatable moments for creatives everywhere) and how we ought not to pathologise Imposter Syndrome, but to think of it as a nagging auntie sitting on our couch.

Imperfect Rhetorics: Neurodiversity in YA Literature and Pop Culture – Jes Battis explores the representation of neurodiversity (primarily focusing on the autism spectrum) in a few key pieces of fiction, some of which rely on tired narratives and some of which let their characters be rounded human beings.

Rise of the Villainess: How the Reborn Bad Girls of Otome Games are Defying Shoujo Stereotypes – a celebration of the rising “villainess isekai” genre, and how this emerging trend is interrogating the shallow and sometimes sexist tropes of the genre.

Take care as always, everyone, and I’ll see you next time round!

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Exciting Times, Exciting News


Hello readers! Some changes are blowing in on the wind here at The Afictionado, so here is a maintenance post to get you up to speed…

University life has emerged from the well to eat up (most of) my time, especially given that this year I’m embarking on a year-long self-directed research project! I’ll be doing a creative thesis on mythology, the archetype of the Hero, and gender–my post on Moana is actually an itty bitty experimental version of the themes and issues I’ll hopefully be looking into. As I come across interesting things in my research, like The Cauldron of Story or Joseph Campbell’s original hypothesis, I may bring them to the blog to pick through them to a) show them to you guys, without the fog of academic language that can surround such things, and b) help get my own head around them… without the fog of academic language that can surround such things.

Due to this, as I’ve done in the past I’ll be dropping down to a blog post every two weeks (except for the ToraDora! recaps, which are still scheduled weekly–I finished that show and oh boy, what a ride. I hope someone out there is looking forward to me yelling about it, because I sure am looking forward to publishing my yelling).

BUT I’ll still be doing plenty of writing, because [insert trumpeting here] I’ve signed on to be one of the “friends” at Lady Geek Girl and Friends! I’ll be writing two posts for them a month, and linking to them from here. I’ve followed LGG for ages now and am super excited to be getting on board and joining the team. And hopefully soon my first piece for AniFem (who so graciously linked to my Lucky Star post in their last “things worth reading” roundup; thank you Vrai!) will be published, with more in the pipeline as well. Stay tuned!

On the home front, you may notice I now have two new exciting shiny tabs at the head of the page: Topics and Tags, a handy database for finding common things I write about or series of posts like Overthinking Bargain Books and Make It Gayer, and Around the Web, the list on which will be getting longer over the course of the year. I’ve also commissioned the very talented Jess Rose to make a beautiful banner for the blog, to, you know, replace that default WordPress picture that’s been sitting there for five-ish years. So look forward to some aesthetic improvements!

All in all, thanks for reading, whether you’re new or a long-time follower–I appreciate it all, and I hope that this blog continues to entertain you over the course of my very busy-looking and creatively-charged 2017.


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ToraDora! #12: Taiga Millionaire


Never trust a dude in a marshmallow-pink fashion cravat.

To reiterate: we’re not sure how long Taiga’s been living on her own in the apartment, but it’s an apartment funded by her father, who also has access to her bank account and the ability to take money out of it. Which he does, essentially bribing her to come talk to him. Ryuji, despite realising at the end of the previous episode that he’s probably projecting his own paternal abandonment onto Taiga, is still feeling pretty positive about the Aisaka family reunion, and vocally appreciates, more than once, how hard Taiga’s dad is working to earn back her love. You know, when he’s not leaving her bankrupt and forcing her to be dependent on him. I imagine when he’s not being massively emotionally manipulative he’s quite a sweet guy!! Continue reading


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Writing about Writing about Writing (about Death Gods): A Review of Afterworlds


If you’re involved in any writing course or writers’ group you’ll invariably find yourself faced with a seminar of some sort about The Publishing Industry. These are generally informative and terrifying, and detail all sorts of fun stuff like the importance of getting an agent, rejection letters, editors missing the point of the story and wanting to change weird shit, and how you must rewrite everything at least sixty times before it’s ready to hit an appraisal office’s desk let alone shelves. It can all be disheartening and scary and all that business can shrivel your creativity to a raisin-like state, so it was a breath of fresh and intriguing air to find a novel about The Publishing Industry in Scott Westerfeld’s Afterworlds. And one that got really gay, too! Bonus!

Lizzie Scofield survives a terrorist attack by pretending to be dead—and she pretends so well that she wills herself in the afterworld, the in-between grey-scale realm populated by ghosts and spirit guides. This act has planted her in a limbo state between alive and dead that makes her a spirit guide/grim reaper/psychopomp/Valkyrie herself, and she begins to learn how this all works from the sparkling and handsome Yamaraj… this is the plot of Darcy Patel’s debut novel. By luck that even she can’t quite believe, Darcy’s passion project (created for something that is never named NaNoWriMo but definitely is) is accepted by a New York publisher and bought for a huge sum of money, propelling the eighteen-year-old into the world of Professional Writers. Continue reading


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The Hamilton Year

Most people agree that 2016 has been a bit of a flaming tyre fire of a year on a global political scale and by sheer number of celebrity deaths, which is why I feel a little guilty that… on my own personal scale, and my own professional scale, it was actually pretty good. But perhaps it’s even more important to reflect on positive triumphs in a dark time, to shout into the void and say “it wasn’t all bad”.

In any case, I’m calling 2016 my Hamilton year because a) it’s the year the Broadway masterpiece Hamilton broke into worldwide popularity and graced my ears, which I think we can all agree was a good time for everyone, and b) it’s been the year of writing day and night like you need it to survive. I’m not on Alexander Hamilton’s ludicrous scale yet, but compared to past achievements, this year I am Published As Heck.

I finished my journalism major in a terrifying crescendo of running in all directions and trying not to scream, culminating in five short articles published on my uni’s news website. I also got a good enough grade on a longform feature article to have it uploaded onto the web as well, which was very exciting since to write that piece I spent about seven hours in a local mall, and it was nice to be rewarded for that.

Through the good old vice of networking, I got my foot into the door at Good Reading Magazine, a Sydney-based publication who I’ve been reviewing books for all year. Here’s the pile:


  • We Ate the Road Like Vultures by Lynnette Lounsbury (surreal and racist, but a fun enough road trip adventure I guess)
  • The Death of an Owl by Pierce and Paul Torday (politics and journalism with a hint of ancient magic and vengeful animals)
  • The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders (a little old lady solving unnecessarily violent crimes in Victorian England)
  • Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones (Southern Gothic werewolves, anyone?)
  • Sweeties by Leon Silver (an exciting dip out of my comfort zone, since it’s entirely stream of consciousness and has about 17 line breaks in the entire book)
  • Elegy by Jane Abbott (I… probably don’t need to gnash my teeth about this book more than I already have. It got my first one star review)
  • Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast (an interesting if drawn-out fantasy. The dog is the best part)
  • Someone I Wanted to Be by Aurelia Wills (miserable and bleak but strangely enthralling YA painting a miserable and bleak but strangely enthralling picture of life in small town America, in the pipeline to be published next year)

I also wrote two three-page feature articles—about Treading Air for the July issue, and Beyond the Orchard for November—which involved interviewing the author and waxing poetical about the book and the process behind making it. These are all printed on real, glossy paper, I might add, which makes them twice as exciting!!

Two articles, about Captain America: Civil War and a review of season one of Sense8, went up on PopGates when they were trying to expand their pop culture section. The site admins have since decided that they’re going to keep their focus on basketball and ditch the pop culture section altogether, so those pieces are no longer available on the web, but hey, it was kind of fun while it lasted.

As I write this post, I’m currently working on another contribution for a pop culture site: the up and coming AniFem! The team behind it are very professional and dedicated, and it’s very cool to be collaborating with them. Once the piece goes up I’ll officially be published “next to” writers I admire a lot like Vrai Kaiser and Frog-kun, so I’m a little stoked.

I also wrote 20,000 words of an original novel (also very exciting!!!) and a metric ass-tonne of fanfiction. Woohoo!!

And hey, there’s The Afictionado of course, for which I’ve been writing all year as usual (including pumping out the ToraDora! rewatch project, for which I currently have the first 20 episode reviews queued, so that’s… already 20,000-ish words I’ve dedicated to that. Dang). Every day I thank goodness I started this blog—it makes sure I’m writing something at all times, and gives me a platform to spout my thoughts and hone my skill. And talk to—and read the work of—some really neat people!

Next year I’ll be writing a creative thesis, which is also very exciting if a little daunting, so I’ll keep you updated on what will happen with the blogging schedule. I wish you all the best of luck, creatively or otherwise, for 2017, and thanks, as always, for reading!



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Hiatus Notice


How’s everybody doing? Caught any good Pokemon in your neighbourhood?

There’s going to be a two week break from posts on this blog, after which unfortunately the dread scourge of academia returns and I will have, among other things, an entire novella to pull out of the ether for course credit. With that in mind I’ll most likely be going back to the post-a-fortnight format.

Thank you for reading as always!

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