Vrai, Mercedez, and Alex return for the 2nd half of Madoka to talk about Madoka’s character arc, the aggravating entropy twist, and how the TV finale still resonates.
Tag Archives: AniFem
Content warnings: threats of sexual violence/sex trafficking
What’s it about? During a blazing high seas battle, a young girl named Fena is pushed out to sea in a rowboat, instructed to stay alive until her protectors can find her again. Ten years later, Fena is living in a brothel in the rough and rowdy port town where she drifted ashore, with her “prima nocta” being auctioned off now that she’s come of age. Fena isn’t having this, and concocts a plan to rob her buyer and escape. Just when it seems her scheme has fallen through, some figures from her past reappear, and Fena finds herself swept up in a whole new daring adventure.
Pirates! There is an unmistakable glamor to them (or, at least, the version of them that has filtered down to us through Hollywood and adventure stories). I certainly have a soft spot in my heart for tales of swashbuckling, treasure-hunting, and handsome rogues in big billowy shirts (and that’s handsome rogues of any gender—Cutthroat Island may be credited with tanking the pirate movie genre, but its powerful Looks from Geena Davis had a profound impact on my sense of aesthetic attraction).
Needless to say, the title Fena: Pirate Princess grabbed my attention even before the show’s slick trailer did. I found myself entranced by the idea of a seafaring heroine and the intriguing mix of aesthetics and fantastical elements. The question is, how does the first episode hold up? Can this show sustain itself on my starry-eyed adoration of sword-fighting women alone?
Content Warning: Discussion of domestic abuse, sexual violence, sexual harassment, suicide
Spoilers for Wonder Egg Priority
Wonder Egg Priority is a series about society’s “monsters,” its early episodes intent on addressing the many all-too-real abuses and social pressures faced by teenage girls through a lens of dreamlike metaphor. As the story progresses, however, the script’s critique of predatory adults and systemic violence takes a sharp pivot. By the time the curtain falls, what Wonder Egg ends up suggesting is that the root of all evil is a single, vindictive individual: a rogue AI in the form of a young woman who is somehow encouraging girls to commit suicide.
Just as the dreamscape Wonder Killers provide a convenient and killable representation of the issues that harm young people, the writers of the show invent a convenient “monster” and pin the blame for those very issues on her. As a result, a lot of the nuance in the series’ treatment of trauma and suicide is lost.
A few weeks into the new season, it’s time to check back in with the new series! Read the thoughts of my co-staffers, plus what I think Kageki Shojo! is doing so well.
Vrai, Mercedez, and Alex celebrate the 10th anniversary of the industry-changing magical girl anime, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, with a rewatchalong!
What’s it about? Jahy is a formidable demon in the Dark Realm, until a pesky magical girl destroys the crystal that supplies all its evil power. Jahy then finds herself transported to a place called Earth, stripped of her magic and trapped in the body of a tiny girl. Jahy is determined to gather enough crystal shards to restore her kingdom… but sidequests like “paying rent” and “needing groceries” keep getting in the way.
Does The Great Jahy have basically the exact same premise as The Devil is a Part-Timer? Yes, but I’m trying not to hold that against it. Honestly, I think the “reverse isekai” is a relatively untapped genre, and with the constant influx of power fantasies where an Ordinary Boy gets to be a hero in a Euro-inspired fantasy world, it’s pretty fun to explore the opposite situation: a Supreme Villain having to learn to be ordinary in modern-day Japan. It’s the kind of fish-out-of-water supernatural comedy that made the good parts of Dragon Maid good, and can be quite charming if its pulled off right.
The Great Jahy doesn’t quite cast a spell on me in this premiere. Perhaps it’s the style of comedy itself: there’s a lot of yelling, to the point where characters reacting to things loudly is the whole joke some of the time. Perhaps it’s the characters: I’m on board to sympathize with Jahy’s plight, but neither she nor the two human characters were that enjoyable to spend time with. Perhaps it’s my brain instinctively putting distance between itself and a show where an immortal woman is turned into a child-sized girl with no pants on.
Let’s look back at spring, a season so full of good stuff that there wasn’t space to recommend everything we liked!
Content Warning: stylized gore, sexual assault
What’s it about? 800 years ago, monsters and demons ran rampant on Earth, only defeated by gods called the Idaten. The Idaten gave their lives to seal away the demons forever, leaving one of their own behind to tell the tale and train any other deities that might appear. Eight centuries later, the world is peaceful—until a foreign military defrosts a demon, leaving the inexperienced new generation of Idaten to deal with it.
There’s potentially a lot of fun in this premise. Superpowered, indestructible beings destined to fight monsters yet stranded in peacetime is an interesting idea. There are already rifts where different Idaten deal with this in different ways: protagonist Hayato is cocky and bored, whereas his friend Ysley is content to use his immortal life to study. There’s also a girl called Paula who… I’m not really sure what her deal is, unfortunately. Ostensibly she has the same super strength and speed as the two boys, and can defy gravity by walking up walls, but she spends an awful lot of this premiere needing to be rescued while the wind blows up her skirt. We’ll come back to that.
What’s it about? Teen idol Fuka has quit the music industry and is all set to travel back to her hometown, but at the last minute changes her ticket and flees to Okinawa instead. There, she finds unexpected solace in the Gama Gama Aquarium: an almost otherworldly underwater place that charms her so thoroughly she asks the young director, Kukuru, if she can stay and help the struggling business.
Disclaimer: I am writing this review in a landlocked city in the middle of winter, so if I start waxing poetic about the ocean, it’s beach-nostalgia peeking through. Bear with me.
The Aquatope on White Sand was my most-anticipated premiere this season, and it did not disappoint. The visuals are absolutely gorgeous and the character work is satisfyingly slow and steady, providing a couple of flashbacks and moments of narration but otherwise doing a lot of showing-not-telling. Fuka is deftly characterized within the first few minutes: poised and graceful yet one emotional injury away from completely curling into herself, graciously and smilingly bidding farewell to her idol kouhai and former managers but ending up in the airport looking drained.
What’s it about? In the fantasy town of Kalta, Reiji runs a pharmacy where he sells potions, elixirs, and remedies with the help of a wolf who is sometimes a girl and the ghost who haunts the building.
For a show with “slow life” in the title, I was expecting a premiere with much more chill. A slice-of-life vibe, maybe, lingering on the day-to-day details of running a shop in a fantasy world and the ins and outs of herbology and alchemy. Drug Store in Another World is, instead, a high-energy slapstick comedy. It moves lightning fast, introducing its characters via name cards and narration rather than any kind of organic exposition, then flinging the viewer into the zany shenanigans that make up the episode’s series of interconnected skits.