Greetings and salutations! Feel free to just call me Rin—we’re all friends here, or nemeses who just haven’t gotten to know each other well enough. I’m a video game lover from the womb to the tomb, and Bioware enthusiast until the day they stop making games with amazing characters that I cry over. And while I don’t partake as often as I used to, don’t be surprised to find me poking around an anime or manga every once in a while either. A personal interest for me is characterization in media and how women in particular have been portrayed, are being portrayed, and will be portrayed in the future. I’m not going to mince words about my opinion either.
As I was going through some CDs I’d made back in my high school days, I was forced to face something: I’d really liked Inuyasha. Like, a lot. So much that I had two CDs filled with the title and ending tracks (yes, I still know the words to Fukai Mori by heart) and several versions of Inuyasha’s Lullaby. So I was feeling a little nostalgic for the series, and seeking out Inuyasha fic this week really wasn’t any surprise to me. What was a surprise, however, was how few F/F fics there were for the series. I’m pretty sure that the Kagome/Thorin Oakenshield ship had more fics than any F/F ship, canon characters or not. Upon giving up my original search—sorry, Femslash February!—I did manage to find a really wonderful ficlet that further explored my favorite female character, Sango, after the events of the series.
Throughout the first fifty-some volumes of Inuyasha, the demon huntress Sango was always portrayed as a strong woman who had lost much, but didn’t allow her losses to consume her. However, the ending of the manga always rubbed me the wrong way. Though Sango was driven by wanting to put an end to the creature who had destroyed her village and family, and she did help achieve this, I never got the impression that just because she had achieved her goal, she would put down her metaphorical torch indefinitely. Yet the series’ end had her settling down with her love interest, Miroku, and popping out babies like it was no one’s business. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but it seemed like too much of a shift in character and agency and too much of a rushed out “and they lived happily ever after” epilogue. I didn’t trudge through so many volumes for this! While today’s fic doesn’t change the outcome, what it does offer is a closer look at Sango’s mindset and character development as she enters this new part of her life—something the series should have done in the first place.
We live in strange times, my friends. Some people have dubbed this the “worst of all timelines,” and while that has yet to be proven (unless you’re a time traveler, I don’t know how it would be proven), it’s true that shit keeps piling on shit and it’s exhausting. However, this is the world we live in. One of these more recent offenses has brought people from all walks of internet life into a debate on free speech and if “political correctness” has gone too far. Spoilers: it hasn’t.
For those who don’t follow YouTube news or have managed to avoid all mentions of the popular YouTube gamer PewDiePie (real name Felix Kjellberg), ripples went through the internet earlier this week when Kjellberg was dropped from his contract with Disney’s Maker Studios and subsequently had the second season of his YouTube Red series, Scare PewDiePie, cancelled by YouTube itself. Kjellberg, who has more than 50 million subscribers on YouTube, was dropped/cancelled due to comments on several on his past videos, most notably two that were released earlier this year. On January 11th, he released a video where he ventured onto the freelance site Fiverr trying to see just how ridiculous his requests could get before people would refuse doing them. This unfortunately ended in a group of Indian men dancing around with a sign that read “Death to all Jews”; later, the Indian men explained they had no idea what the sign even meant. Later on January 22nd, Kjellberg released a similar video in which he had someone dressed as Jesus say “Hitler did nothing wrong.”
The comedy scene on YouTube, perhaps especially the gaming comedy scene, is no stranger to attempts at humor in this vein, and presumablyDisney wasn’t ignorant to this when they hopped into the YouTube game, but these two offenses were the final straw when it came to Kjellberg. It’s really no surprise that other YouTubers began to jump to Kjellberg’s defense, claiming YouTube could do the same thing to them if they “spoke out of line”—having a smaller audience could mean financial death to some channels should this happen—and working themselves up about free speech being “under attack” by the mysterious, oversensitive “SJWs”. But honestly, the real worry here is: why do y’all wanna be racist/anti-Semitic/whatever so badly? Kjellberg being dropped was a necessary response, and an incredibly important one at that.
During the winter, not many anime could escape the vortex of Yuri!!! On Ice, and with good reason. Along with bringing figure skating to the forefronts of fans’ minds, there was this collective release of breath that for once a series didn’t destroy a healthy gay relationship by having one of them die, making it hideously tropey, or any other manner of eye-roll-inducing bullshit that non-straight audiences are unfortunately used to. While I’m definitely forever grateful for Yuri’s existence, I won’t lie: part of me was a little bitter that lesbian couples weren’t having their renaissance as well. However, I did manage to hear about two anime series that were being touted as having lesbian relationships front and center. Though continuously dubious about anime’s relationship with, well, any sort of relationships really, but especially lesbian relationships, I sat down and watched the first of the two series, Izetta: The Last Witch. Izetta’s dip into a magic-infused version of our world’s real-life past wasn’t exactly what I would call “fun”, but despite the numerous bad/questionable aspects of the show, I do believe that in the end Izetta is worth a watch.
I won’t lie to you, readers: I’ve been excited to write this Web Crush for a while now. Strong as my love is for dating sims, I’ll be the first to admit that the setups usually draw from the same pool. School romances with various magical trappings; the new woman in a business where all her other co-workers are men: the tropes are familiar and comfortable, but sometimes we all need a little spice in our lives. A little something to shake things up. So today I present to you a dating sim that breaks out of the more typical shoujo romance mold and thrusts you into a world of corporate intrigue where romance may be the last thing on your mind.
Harry Potter has indisputably become an important part of our modern mythos about witches, wizards, and magical know-how. We’ve discussed the series a lot on this blog, but as I was randomly thinking the other day, what exactly prompted Rowling’s choice in animal companions for her young magic users? Creatures like toads and cats have long since been staples of witchiness in the current pop media consciousness (although as far as cats go, Hermione’s fluffy ball of grump Crookshanks isn’t exactly the stereotype), and rats kind of fit in by virtue of so many people having an aversion to them. But owls? From where I stood, owls seemed like a random choice. Rowling has stated that she chose the creatures because they’re “traditionally associated with magic” and just because she likes them—both valid points—but in my pop culture experience, owls aren’t the go-to bird for shorthand magical implication. No, that honor goes to ravens. Still, this got me thinking further: what are the symbolic differences between owls and ravens when it comes to magic? Surprisingly, their purpose in folklore and their general symbolism are quite similar.
I first heard about Makoto Shinkai’s hit film Your Name in whispers and gifsets on Tumblr. In fact, upon researching it a little further, I was surprised to find that, you know, it actually was a hit, given that I’d barely heard anything about it. The 2016 animated film has already been dubbed by Funimation and was shown off at Anime Expo back in July. Yet what got me to watch it wasn’t the beautiful animation I’d seen in the gifsets—it was one line I’d read in a brief summary: Mitsuha wishes to be a handsome boy in her next life. So, knowing nothing about this film or the story it was adapted from, I went into Your Name wondering if it was going to star a character going through the struggles of being trans in rural Japan. While this was not the case, Your Name is not necessarily devoid of queer moments. And while the movie was beautiful and entertaining (and I can understand the people who believe it got snubbed for an Oscars nod), I still don’t know if I actually enjoyed the experience.
I’ve finally taken the time to sit down and watch the Fire Emblem Direct that aired on the 18th. While I’m excited for the proposed game coming out for the Switch in 2018 (about which no details have been given yet), and I’ll probably enjoy Fire Emblem Warriors with the same undevoted, “it’s good for killing some time” mindset that I did Hyrule Warriors, I find myself conflicted on the other two titles that were brought up during the event. Both Fire Emblem: Echoes and Fire Emblem: Heroes are beautiful games that will probably be fun and enjoyable. However, with both of them, I fear that the series may be slipping back into some tropes that we really should be past in 2017.