Sexualized Saturdays: Sex, Romance, and Giant Robots in FLCL

While I consider myself an anime fan, I only count a surprisingly few anime titles among my all time favorites. One that definitely makes the cut is FLCL. It is almost impossible to explain what exactly FLCL actually is (though our own BrothaDom made a truly valiant effort); the show is legendarily rumored to be a byproduct of writer’s block, spawning from a handful of unfinished ideas that some anime all-stars had been batting around. While that may be at least somewhat apocryphal, it certainly explains much of the show’s signature production style. One interpretation for it all that I cannot help wanting to explore, however, is that the entire story is a parable about adolescent sexual and romantic coming of age.

flcl-bridge

Quiet moments like this have more raw emotion than the apocalyptic action scenes.

Much of the plot is directly and explicitly just that: a coming-of-age story. It can be argued, though, that the more grandiose and surreal main story arc is all one giant metaphor for this as well. In addition to the protagonist Naota, almost every other key character (primarily the three women in Naota’s life: Haruko, Mamimi, and Eri) also deals with these themes and the extraordinary events that happen to them are all viewable as metaphorical (and/or metaphysical) extensions of those emotional struggles.

As the YA sci-fi and fantasy genres become more and more of a driving force in pop culture, FLCL is worth revisiting (again) for what it says about some of those same themes. It tells a complex and deeply layered yet easily relatable story about the nature of romantic and sexual self-discovery in a way that validates the emotions that young people (and everyone else) look to explore in this type of fiction; not only that, but it does so in a way that treats them with a sincerity that mainstream YA fiction sometimes tends to handle with melodrama and/or trivialization.

Trigger warning for underage sexual relationships below.

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Self-Care & Geeky Shows to Help You Deal with the Rise of Facism

I don’t know about you all, but I have been struggling a bit recently. It’s hard to deal with life when you wake up every day trying to figure out what damage the current administration has done to your country and the rest of the world. During times like these, self-care is really important. Yes, we need to stay proactive and keep fighting, but we also need to remember to take a break and recharge ourselves once in a while. I always turn to my favorite geeky shows to help me recharge. A lot of geeky media is about fighting the government/powers that be, which is great, and sometimes, that is exactly what I need. But other times it’s nice to just forget about fighting the good fight. So here are some of my go-to favorite geeky self-care shows that’ll let you relax, at least for a little while.

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Top 20 Romantic Couples in Geekdom (10 Canon/10 Fanon): 2017 Edition

Let’s face it, 2016 was tough, and 2017 doesn’t look to be much easier. So let’s delve into some of our favorite geeky romantic pairings to help us cope! Yep, it’s Valentine’s Day, that sickeningly sweet holiday when our authors nominate and then vote on ships for our Top 20 Romantic Couples in Geekdom (10 Canon/10 Fanon) list. It is now my duty to present to you the super cute and sexy ships of 2017!

via

(via tenor)

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Sexualized Saturdays: Moana the Mythic Hero-King

Moana was several different brands of delightful, but one aspect that captured my heart is that it draws its inspiration from mythology rather than from fairy tales—something Disney hasn’t really done since Hercules, and something that gives its heroine a very interesting dynamic. The movie features the trickster god Maui as one of its main characters and incorporates other elements of Polynesian folklore, but I was especially interested—and pleasantly surprised—to see that Moana herself has quite a traditional mythical hero’s character arc.

She is a leader, chosen by nature and destiny, who sets out on a quest surrounding an important magical object, where she ventures through the realm of the supernatural and tangles with gods. When it’s over, the balance of nature is restored and she returns to her people as a wiser and more capable ruler. It’s a quintessential hero-king quest narrative, which, incidentally, is also a quintessentially male narrative. But without so much as a shrug, Moana gives this archetype to its female heroine and sends her on her journey.

Spoilers for the whole movie after the jump!

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Steven Universe #1: A Great Comic (For Someone Younger than Me)

Gentle readers, you may or may not know that I love me some Steven Universe. You may or may not also know that a new Steven Universe ongoing comic series debuted earlier this week.

I’m usually not that interested in comics series that are directly tied to ongoing series—for example, although I liked the various six-issue Adventure Time series that delved into the backgrounds of characters who might never get a lot of showtime, I never really felt the urge to pick up the actual Adventure Time comic. However, I broke with my personal tradition this week to try out the new Steven Universe series, because, well, I love me some Steven Universe.

Spoilers for #1 below the jump!

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Sincere Vulnerability

I’ll be candid with you, reader: it’s been a tough few weeks for me. Like many others, between winter blues, the political climate, and the often negative nature of nerd critique, I’ve been in a bit of a slump. In times like this, I like to look at some of my favorite media that resonates with me on an emotional level.

I appreciate sincerity and vulnerability in media. In my opinion, that has been a common through-line in a lot of viral fandoms in the past few years. There is definitely room for being a badass, and admittedly, that’s an enjoyable trait to watch play out in a story. However, I think many of us are craving a sense of vulnerability in our characters, not just physically, but also emotionally. We want to be be able to empathize and connect with the characters by knowing how they feel, what their aspirations are, and what they’re thinking. Of course in superhero media, the protagonists are relatively invincible, but are they people under all that? In the past couple years, I’ve seen some really great uses of emotional vulnerability, and I think they illustrate the benefit of creating these character traits.

The sequence that probably sold tons of fans on the franchise.

The sequence that probably sold tons of fans on the franchise.

Minor spoilers for Steven Universe and major spoilers for Undertale after the jump!

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Fanfiction Fridays: The Shape of You by Barkour

(via bliptech)

(via bliptech)

I’m still working my way through the second season of Voltron: Legendary Defender. (No spoilers, please!) I felt similarly to Luce about the first season, and while I really want to like the characters, most of them still feel stuck in stereotypical ruts. That said, I do find Pidge an incredibly intriguing character. As a tremendously smart and techy girl who was undercover as a boy (or, at least, people assumed she was a boy and she didn’t correct them) so she could find her missing family, she already has a much more complex backstory than most of the dude Paladins. On top of this, one of my favorite theories/headcanons coming out of Season 1 was that Pidge was trans. While my own personal headcanon leans more toward a genderqueer/nonbinary Pidge, this fanfic paints an excellent and thoughtful picture of Pidge as a trans girl.

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