Vrai Talks: Cthulhusattva Interview

Hey there, readers! You may remember that a few months back I published a story in the anthology Cthulhusattva: Tales of the Black Gnosis.  Well, as part of the promotion for that anthology, I also sat down for a brief interview with its editor (and the founder of Martian Migraine Press), Scott Jones.

THRILL IN AMAZEMENT as my brain is so fried I can no longer remember important details of the thing I wrote. GASP IN AWE as I make it less than five minutes to the first anime reference. SWOON at the handsome quality of my nasally Midwesterner’s voice.

And keep your ears tuned – this might not be the last time you see audio content popping up around these parts.

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Can We Cool it With the “Woman Disguised as a Man” Twist Already?


During the summer of 1997, Mulan was seven year old Vrai’s very favorite movie; during the fall of 1997, it was therefore assured that a costume from the movie. What that small child quickly found, however, is that while they wanted to dress up as Ping, all that the stores were selling was the matchmaker dress. Nobody thought it worth selling the masculine clothes when obviously the girly girl no really totally a girl bit was obviously more appealing. This trend never stopped. Your author just got more bitter about it.

As for why it’s come up now, a story: I’ve been inundated lately with comments about how I should watch Voltron: Legendary Defender. It’s the Legend of Korra writing team. It’s really clever and adorable. And, most alluringly, it supposedly had a canonically non-binary character. I’m nothing if not predictable.

[Minor Voltron spoilers follow]

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How Wander Over Yonder Fell Through the Cracks (and Why I’ll Miss it)

last shot

We’re in a renaissance of television animation at the moment. As the medium’s come to be taken more seriously in the West and been given more leeway in the kinds of stories it tells, there’s been a push to grapple with more substantive content. There was Aang’s struggle to remain a pacifist in Avatar: The Last Airbender, Adventure Time’s later seasons have flirted with a bizarre existentialist sort of vibe, and Steven Universe is hard at work trying to grapple with the question of whether peace, love, and understanding can really heal all wounds.

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One More Week of Steven

Yes, it’s true. While I’d hoped that we could return to Gankutsuou this week (the post is half done, even!), moving and Real Life Responsibilities (TM) absolutely wiped me out this week. So I beg your indulgence, and offer another post of Steven Universe analysis to tide you over until we get back on that anime train (which I miss with all my heart – the adaptation this time, y’all).

(And don’t forget – if you want to follow these recaps even when I’m not posting them here, they go up night of airing on that tumblr and morning after on The Mary Sue.

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Plot Renovation – Black Butler II


Black Butler II was always going to be garbage, and I say that with a great deal of agonized affection. The series it works as a sequel to is inundated with enough low-key shota exploitation to require a shower after viewing, and my favorite “character who deserved better” is a walking transphobic joke. And yet.

And yet.

I was a big fan of the first anime series as a teenager, with its trashy pseudo-gothic aesthetic and ability to wring a consistent character arc out of Ciel by veering away from the manga’s consequence-free borderline-sociopath. I even maintain a certain fondness for the canon’s depiction of that good old “death as bureaucracy” trope, and the musical spin-off The Most Beautiful Death in the World is straight up quality viewing to this day. So it was that I harbored high hopes for the show’s second season back in 2010, which pre-production information initially billed as “White Butler” – a series seemingly set in the same universe but with a different main cast.

Oh, if only that had been the case.

[Heads up: the point of these posts are to examine flaws in the subject as a whole – that means details and a fair amount of spoilers.]

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