Queer Horror Podcast SPINES is a Promising Debut for New Studio

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This essay was commissioned by @UncleAsriel. You can find out more about commissions here.

Watching a new group of artists set out together is a gamble: you look at the strengths they’re already beginning to display, the issues they’re working out how to overcome, and lay your bets as to where they’ll end up in a month, or a year, or ten. Zoom Doom Stories, who just completed their debut podcast Spines, has put an impressively strong foot forward with a mission statement to make “dark, creepy, queer, feminist podcasts.” Sign me up.

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The Arcana: Inclusive Fantasy Dating Sim With a Side of Murder

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The market is tough for those making mobile games—poor App Store formatting, a deluge of burner apps that have little-to-no functionality, and increasingly predatory free-to-play mechanics have made it difficult to find the games that are worth your time. On the other hand, it means that when you do stumble onto a hidden gem, it feels all the more like a treasure.

Enter The Arcana, a free-to-play dating sim set in a fantasy land of magic and tarot. In addition to kissing some eligible suitors (currently three, with three more planned if the game does well), the player will solve a whodunnit mired in courtly intrigue. While it’s difficult to judge an ongoing narrative (new chapters are added roughly ever six weeks), what’s available is both charming and intriguing. Did you like Red Embrace or Hustle Cat? This is probably for you.

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Vrai Rewatches Michiko & Hatchin

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Over the past month I got together for maybe the best podcast series Anime Feminist has put out so far–certainly the one I’m proudest of, and I say that having been proud to stand behind all the podcasts I’ve been part of for the site. My cohosts had fantastic insight into the series as women and enbies of color–it’s well worth listening for the discussion of police brutality, Brazil’s favelas, colorism, and double-standards re: WOC and sexuality.

I got to geek out about Sayo Yamamoto and Atsuko the magnificent disaster lesbian in between listening to the great discussion.

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[Link] The People’s Hero (Some People Not Included): The exclusion of queer viewers in LUPIN THE 3rd PART 5

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When I reviewed the premiere for LUPIN THE 3rd PART 5, I said I was disappointed to see that the franchise looked like it was sinking back into the slurry of mediocrity that characterized the late ‘90s and 2000s, interested only in updating the aesthetic sheen without tackling any of the franchise’s extremely outdated ideas (the movies, meanwhile, took all of the grimdark edge and none of the feminist themes from The Woman Called Fujiko Mine). Episode 2 seems to confirm those fears, making a joke out of marginalized fans rather than trying to sincerely include them.

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