Tag Archives: AniFem

General Feminist-Friendly Manga Recommendations

Want to take a break from watching and find something to read? Here’s a piping-hot batch of feminist-friendly titles hot out the oven for our dear readers!

Read why I think you should check out Witch Hat Atelier—and read the rest of my team’s hard work—here!

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AniFem’s Summer 2021 Recommendations

This summer’s recs are definitely a case of quality over quantity. But there are some offerings definitely worth your time!

Read the full post here!

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Premiere Review | The Faraway Paladin

Content Warning: animal death in a hunting context

What’s it about? Three members of the undead—the ghost of a grumpy scholar, a warrior skeleton, and a mummified priestess—find a human baby in the ruins of a city. They name him Will and adopt him as their own, teaching him magic, folklore, and fighting skills as he grows; preparing him for some sort of secret destiny the boy isn’t yet aware of. But the boy has something he’s not telling his undead parents, too: he was reborn into this world from a different one, and has hazy memories of a past life.

I’ll get this part out of the way first: there is something a little odd about a child character with the memories and cognitive abilities of an adult, even if Faraway Paladin doesn’t make this weird in the way that other shows do. There are no horny babies here, just toddlers waxing poetic about living a better life in an eloquent interior monologue and a young protagonist who is conveniently precocious because he’s drawing on knowledge from his adult life.

My knee-jerk reaction is to ask if the reincarnation aspect of this isekai is only there to give our hero a leg up and help make him extra smart and special, but that might not be fair. Faraway Paladin seems, even just from this first episode, to be a pretty grounded and competent fantasy series. It’s tropey in fun ways without swimming in cliché, quietly setting up the deeper machinations that surround our hero without overtly smelling of a silly power fantasy. This premiere isn’t keen to rush into the heart of the action and show Will being a cool badass holy warrior. It’s content to draw us in slowly, focusing on the relationship between Will and his undead guardians.

Read my full review here!

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Premiere Review | PuraOre! ~Pride of Orange~

What’s it about? Manaka is happy as a member of the embroidery club, but on a whim decides to attend a trial day for the school’s ice hockey team, taking her friends with her.  

PuraOre! opens in the frantic final moments of an international ice hockey game, throwing the audience into some high-octane sporting action. Then, when the team for Japan wins, the… scene transitions into an idol-concert-style musical number, with the players dancing and singing on the ice. Decorative flame cannons go off, confetti falls, and the show transitions, again, to an ordinary school scene.

In the space of about six minutes, you can see these girls aggressively win a hockey game on the world stage, perform a perfectly choreographed dance, and sit down to talk about snacks in a club room. Now that’s what I call a genre mashup!

Read my full review here!

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Premiere Review | Banished From the Hero’s Party, I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside

What’s it about? After being banished from the hero’s adventuring party, knight Gideon changes his name to Red and decides to live a quiet life in a countryside town.

These long light novel titles really do a lot of the heavy lifting, don’t they?

Conceptually, I love this emerging trend of “slow life” isekai. High fantasy is a genre that tends to be most associated with epic quests, grand battles, and high-stakes conflict. The idea of scaling all those familiar tropes down and offering the audience a more chilled-out, character-focused story that combines all the joys of a slice-of-life series with a magical setting, is fun.

This blend of elements is what endears me so much to shows like Restaurant to Another World and Flying Witch, and it’s what made me initially interested in this one. Particularly because the epic stakes and god-appointed warriors you might usually expect are present in the narrative, but they’ve been pushed over to the side. It provides a playful space to explore what the regular person is up to while the protagonists go about saving the world—a potential The Rest of Us Just Live Here type tale for a world drawing its inspiration from fantasy TTRPGs and video games.

Of course, a slow life show set in a fantasy world runs a dual risk: being too slow, and being a bad fantasy.

Read my full review here!

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Premiere Review | Mieruko-chan

Content Warning: grotesque ghostly horror, fanservice

What’s it about? Miko can see ghosts: horrifying, grotesque apparitions that appear throughout her house, her school, and her bus route home. Determined not to get further embroiled in any supernatural torment, Miko takes the advice of a paranormal TV show host and simply pretends she can’t see them.

I’ll be candid: from this premise, I’d assumed Mieruko-chan would be much more straightforwardly a zany comedy, juxtaposing the terrifying creatures of the beyond against Miko’s disinterest in engaging with them. But the pacing of this entire episode, and each individual apparition, leans way more on the horror aspect of this horror-comedy.

Read my full review here!

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Premiere Review | Waccha PriMagi!

What’s it about? PriMagi is a stage contest that combines song, dance, fashion, and just a little magic. Matsuri longs to compete, inspired by Jennifer, the impossibly cool past winner, but has always been too shy. She gets an unexpected push, however, when transforming cat-girl magician Myamu drops through a portal and asks to team up.

Waccha PriMagi! is the tenth anniversary spectacular for the Pretty Rhythm multimedia franchise, an arcade game series that has inspired spinoffs and adaptations in manga, TV anime, and movies across its decade-long run. Each entry centers around fashion and music: the goal is not only to earn a high score in the rhythm game but to look fab while doing so, collecting custom outfits that may enhance your capacity to charm and wow the virtual audience. You can see these elements feeding into the plot of Waccha PriMagi, alongside a splash of magic.

Read the full review here!

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Podcast | Puella Magi Madoka Magica Rewatchalong – Episodes 7-12

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.

Listen to the episode (and in a week’s time, read the transcript!) at AniFem!

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Premiere Review | Fena: Pirate Princess

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?

Read the full review on AniFem!

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Convenient Monsters: The Problem with Frill and Wonder Egg Priority’s Take on Trauma

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.

Read the full article on AniFem!

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