Fanfiction Fridays: Words To Me by SolarMorrigan

It being the month of Halloween, with the actual day right around the corner, I decided I would go looking for something from a spooky fandom to rec for this particular Fanfiction Fridays. Of course, I realized shortly thereafter that I’m not in any particularly spooky fandoms, being a certified scaredy-cat and all. So instead I turned to a fandom that, while not too spooky in practice, is, in fairness, flush with ghosts and monsters in canon. Yes, I’m talking about Scooby-Doo.

I’d never ventured into the smallish Scooby-Doo section on AO3 before, but I was pleased to find a wide variety of fics there, especially fic supporting the Velma/Daphne pairing. Words To Me is one of those, and imagines a world where the Mystery, Inc. gang regularly hunt for-realsies monsters rather than capitalists in masks. Nothing particularly scary happens in this short, sweet fic, unless you consider that the real monster was facing your feelings all along.

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Trailer Tuesdays: Ferdinand

There are a lot of great movies coming out in the next few months. There’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, obviously, and Black Panther looks amazing, and then… there’s this one. Ferdinand, by Blue Sky Studios, is going to be coming out on the same day as The Last Jedi, and, just between you and me, I don’t think it’s going to do so well.

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Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 4: Well, It Was …Star Warsy?

It’s no secret that I wasn’t particularly wowed by the third season of Voltron: Legendary Defender. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t still binge the fourth season — all… six… episodes of it — as soon as they dropped last Friday. I went into this season hoping for a lot more meaty character development after the setup and plot heavy last season, but did I get it?

The short answer is: no. Season 4 continued to barrel along at a breakneck pace without ever giving us any meaty character background-support that would help justify or strengthen the sweeping actions the characters took.

(via netflix)

Or, well, it mostly failed to. Spoilers after the jump.

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Kotoura-san Offers Friendship and Healing, But At What Cost

You’d think that by now I’d realize that Facebook is dangerous. No, I wasn’t drawn into a debate with relatives who don’t seem to understand that being an awful, ignorant person on all facets should not be a viable political platform. I was drawn, instead, to watching an anime. Usually those ripped video clips stuck between two white bars that say something to the effect of “When you break up with a girl in anime😂😂” don’t grab me, but this video did. Here, let me show you. (Content warning for child abuse and bullying.)

These are the first nine minutes of the 2013 anime Kotoura-san, and immediately after watching this I knew I had to look up the summary to see if it was worth investing any more time in. I had no interest in watching a series devoted to the further torturing of its protagonist; however, the summary wasted no time in saying that this series was a romantic comedy (what?) that focused on the titular Kotoura-san making friends and healing from her childhood trauma. What followed was, yes, that in generous helpings. But Kotoura-san was also filled with, in equal parts, a bunch of uncomfortable sexual harassment and an unsatisfying narrative resolution to parental negligence which only served to undermine the actual good things going on.

Spoilers below the cut. All the previous warnings still apply, with an additional one for incest. Continue reading

Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 3: Short But Sweet?

As is often our wont, we ended up reccing a fic for something before we actually reviewed the thing. Ah well; such is fandom. Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 3 was, as I mentioned in my fic rec, a bit, uh, brief; only seven episodes long, to be precise. On the upside, there will be more story in October when Season 4 drops; on the downside, S4 will only be six episodes long, which makes it kind of feel like it’s just the second half of Season 3 gussied up to look like its own season. While it was nice to finally get a continuation of the story that ended on such a cliffhanger in Season 2, and while this mini-season did give us some character development and history, it didn’t really feel like a complete story, and I’m worried too much got left by the wayside.

Spoilers below the jump!

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Trailer Tuesdays: The Breadwinner

Who loves Cartoon Saloon? This lady does! Though some parts of Song of the Sea left me a bit underwhelmed, Cartoon Saloon’s aesthetic stylings and my lingering, overflowing love for The Secret of Kells have ensured my continued excitement over their works. Despite The Breadwinner taking a far less fantastical approach to exploring the world, its trailer has me intrigued as to how this adaptation will fare given its more serious nature.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Steven and The Doctor; Gender Identity and Role Models in Steven Universe

Since its premiere, Steven Universe has meant a lot of things to a lot of people. The representation of numerous gender identities, sexualities, ethnicities, and creeds has been a phenomenal example of how diversity can lead to better storytelling and has provided many fans of all types with new fictional role models. The recent remarks by former Doctor Who lead Peter Davison, however, have had me thinking about one group that some say is overlooked in discussions of how this diversity is having an impact: straight white men.

Now, before anyone says anything, the reason this group is “overlooked” is that they have occupied a widely disproportionate number of the roles that need to be diversified in the first place; they aren’t overlooked, they’re usually the group being looked at. This demographic is the exact opposite of an underrepresented minority, and the overwhelming number of complaints I see about their exclusion are, as sixth Doctor Colin Baker says in his reply, “absolute rubbish.”

“Straight white male” has been the default target demographic for a wide majority of western mass media in the last century, and that identity is one that is effortlessly validated by a seemingly unending parade of straight white male heroes (even just ones named Chris). There is, IMHO, absolutely no argument whatsoever to be made that straight white men are underrepresented in media, let alone solely within the subgenres of animated kids shows featuring aliens or British time travel franchises. But the result of this debate was that I got to thinking about the nature of what messages these shows send, and how the identity of the messenger can impact the way it is received.

SU WHO - In the real way

He can show you how to be strong. (screenshot from Steven Universe)

Which, of course, led me to Steven Universe. SU is a show with a straight male protagonist, but also one in which the bulk of the show’s main characters are women and many are (essentially) queer women of color. The show demonstrates both that a straight white male can deliver a highly inclusive message and that characters with a different identity can deliver messages that are particularly important for those same young boys in need of a role model—the same ones that Davison is worried about. By validating that a straight white man can in fact be a messenger for diverse audiences, SU simultaneously demonstrates why straight white men can and must begin to learn more of those messages from messengers of other identities.

(Note: while the racial component to the “default” hero identity is equally important, this article will obviously focus primarily on the gender and sexuality components.)

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