Hello, internet. I’m Vrai, a writer who dabbles in speculative fiction, narrative nonfiction, flash fiction, and reviews. In between all of that, I has a healthy adoration for overanalyzing pop culture. This blog is a bi-weekly (currently Mondays and Fridays) source of essays, recaps, and updates on my professional publications.
As a lover of stories I’ve been compelled to seek them in every medium – as such, the focus of the analysis here is applied to subjects ranging from anime to film, western animation, videogames, literature, and theater. A good story can be found in any form, so long as it can speak to an audience. While I have a soft spot for examining issues of gender and sexuality, that’s by no means the exclusive domain of the discussion – in fact, you might find anything from narrative structure to character studies and far-fetched conspiracy theories. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life.

Don’t be shy if you’re not a WordPress user – it’s totally possible to follow via email as well. You can also keep up with what’s going on over on Twitter.


19 replies »

  1. Hey, Vrai. Just wanted to give you my compliments on a lovely set of articles about SKU– I reblog them from time to time on tumblr, and I always love to see them getting attention. Thanks so much for all the insights, you’ve said things even Gio and I have never heard before!

    • Aw. Why thank you! That’s quite high praise from The Forum From Forever. (and thanks for the reblogs, too – it’s always a great help and a warm moment when people want to share these things).

  2. Hi Vrai, I’m a fan of the Steven Universe recap you write for TMS, and I’m planning on writing an article about Taoism and Zen in Pop Culture, and I feel like Steven is a very interesting subject for a section of it in relation to narrative that is somehow influenced by those philosophical principles. As someone else who has their finger on the pulse of this show, do you feel like there’s any philosophical underpinnings to the show on that kind of front yourself, and if so how do you see it manifest?

    Eager to find out what you think.



    • Wow, what a question! Glad you’re enjoying the recaps. Certainly I think you could make a number of philosophical arguments about the show – the process of the Gems bears traces of reincarnation (though without the element of Samsara), there’s questions of the nature of the eternal “Self” with Steven and Rose, and so on. Above all I’d say it bears a striking resemblance to Miyazaki’s brand of humanism – that there are antagonists rather than villains, that (at least so far) no one is beyond redemption, and that the internal struggle to understand oneself is intimately tied to external attempts to make connections with others (the fact that the crew is so clearly raised by anime affects the show from the ground up, though I don’t think it’s as ideologically deliberate on that point as, say, Avatar was). Best of luck with the article!

  3. Hello, sir/ma’am (I’m terribly sorry that I didn’t figure that out yet). I am here to ask you for a favor.
    The little community of the Russian fans of “Utena”, including me, would like to translate your truely awesome The Consulting Analyst heading on this series. It would be punlished on the fan-blog placed on http://www.diary.ru. The full credit. of course, would be given to you.
    Would it be ok with you? We would really appreciate your premission to introduce Russian “Utena” fans to your analysis.

    • I’m neither/nor, so it’s all good! Yes, that’d be quite alright with me. If you’d put my credits and a link to the original post in English with each post, I’d be happy to give my permission (and please, post the link here! I don’t know how many of my readers are native Russian speakers, but it’d be nice to them a chance to find the community).

      • Thanks a lot!
        The work is just at the beggining, I, of course, asked for premission first of all, so the links I’ll provide later – we hope to finish that to the end of August, maybe.

  4. Hi, Vrai. Given your enthusiasm for weighty vampire fiction, I was wondering if you might like a free mobi or epub of — and I might be a bit biased because I wrote it — a novella featuring a vampire of color and atypical diversity. Check out a sample at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MPXMK1S and best wishes regardless.

  5. Hi, Vrai! I just wanted to say that your Lupin Part 1 recaps(as well as everything else you post on this site) are absolutely amazing. They’re a blast to read, and sometimes even insightful. Each time I finished a Lupin episode, I would always go to this site to see what you thought about it.
    As a big Lupin fan myself, I was just curious about whether or not you got around to finishing Part 5, and your opinions on it.
    Dank You!

    • Thanks! I didn’t especially vibe with Part 5. I’m not certain the attempt to mix serialized arcs and standalones worked well for it–the franchise tends to do better as one or the other (Fujiko Mine’s shortform was all building toward a singular thematic conclusion, after all). Also fuck the no homo joking around have you seen this show, sir.

      • Yeah, the no homo “jokes” were a letdown, especially considering that it wasn’t too long ago that Fujiko Mine was on da screens. But at least Fujiko isn’t getting abused in a glass cage by a rape machine. *glares at Koike* I’ll take anything over that.
        Thankfully, the no homo stuff stopped after Arc 1, if I’m not wrong.

        Also, on a totally different subject:
        I don’t think it’s Goodbye Partner, at least.

  6. Heya! I just discovered your blog today! I’m at work now so I’ll have to binge it when I’m off the clock but I love your writing! I love your analysis on Lupin and and I love your takes on the franchise (also thank you for reminding me to get to watching Woman Called Fujiko Mine). Also thank you for calling out Part V! It’s good I wasn’t the only one bothered by the no homo stuff 😫

    I was wondering if you had any opinions (since I’m on Lupin) about either the Maurice LeBlanc stuff that inspired it or any of the more recent entries in Lupin the 3rd (like Lupin The First or Fujiko’s Lie)

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