[Link] Kino is the non-binary protagonist we deserve


Kino’s Journey (2003) is one of the great classics of anime: directed by the late Ryutaro Nakamura (Serial Experiments Lain) with his characteristic eye for negative space and eerie, melancholy sound design, the series is a quiet but purposeful sequence of short stories ranging from the fantastical to the mundane. All of them are about human nature, and as Kino meets various people, we learn a little more about why Kino is on that titular journey.

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Vrai Watches Kill la Kill (Part 3)


The show lulled me into having a fun time with the Kansai arc and then sucker punched me directly in the anus with The Worst Scene Ever. Just in case I forgot that every nice thing in KLK has to be balanced by a heinously awful thing.

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The Woman Called Fujiko Mine Retrospective


I got together with Caitlin and Dee to talk about one of my favorite anime of all time. You may remember it from the considerable number of essays I’ve dedicated to it over the years. And if you haven’t checked it out yet, I can’t recommend it enough (though be mindful of some pretty strong content warnings including torture, child abuse and sexual assault).

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Vampire Princess Miyu: We Need More Shoujo Horror


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

Horror anime is rare and rarely affecting. Series often have difficulty conveying or maintaining unsettling atmospheres and slow burns, and turn instead to gore and body horror—subgenres that can be quite effective but can easily take a turn for the silly.

It’s why series that can act with at least a certain amount of restraint have stuck in the anime fandom’s collective memory: the tragic Nina from Fullmetal Alchemist, Higurashi’s carefully spaced explosions of violence, and Tetsuo’s slow loss of bodily autonomy in AKIRA. Older anime fans in particular might add one more name to that set: Vampire Princess Miyu, a rare horror series both targeted toward and starring women.

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Vrai Watches Kill la Kill (Part 2)


This batch of episodes had some things I quite like (them Student Council kids are quality, can’t believe nobody told me about the Good Ship Satsuki/Nonon), and some things I reaaaaaaaaaaally hate. Have I mentioned my loathing for Noble Poverty stories? Well, now I have. In detail.

Also: how does this show about clothes misunderstand the fashion industry so hard.

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Red Embrace: Good Vampire Boys on a Budget


The vampire craze of the late 2000s has come and gone, the Twilights and True Bloods and Vampire Diaireses leaving a bad case of publisher burnout in their wake.  The only ones left behind are people like me, whose specific fondness for queer vampires wasn’t exactly served by a fad kicked off by a Mormon woman. With an itch hardly scratched by years of somehow aggressively heterosexual takes on a genre kicked off by Carmilla and OG Spooky Bisexual Dracula, I tend to be a bit of an easy mark—which is how I wound up buying Red Embrace, a five-dollar visual novel on Steam.

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