Web Crush Wednesdays: Dice, Camera, Action

In the hype of larger productions and bigger fanbases, it’s all too easy to completely miss out on less spoken of productions that are equally as good. With this seeming boom of Dungeons & Dragons webshows, it perhaps comes as no surprise that they suffer from the same thing–it’s definitely easy to fall in the shadow of amazing shows like Critical Role and The Adventure Zone. So today I bring you a beginner-friendly D&D webshow starring some of my favorite YouTubers and led by Wizards of the Coast’s own DM extraordinaire, Chris Perkins. Friends, readers, dim the lights, because it’s time for some Dice, Camera, Action.

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In Brightest Day: Interrogating Disability and Privilege in Always Human

Back at the start of 2016, I spotlighted a little webcomic called Always Human as my web crush of the week because it featured a lovely queer romance and some fantastic art and music. Since then, it’s become one of my favorite web crushes (next to The Adventure Zone and They Call Us Bruce) not only because of the relationship between Austen and Sunati, but also because of the way that diversity of all sorts is seamlessly blended into the story. Always Human is set in a future version of our Australia, and while future Australia of course has various technological advances, it’s also filled with racial diversity, different sexual orientations and gender identities, and both polyamorous and monogamous relationships. I’m always excited to read more of Austen and Sunati’s slice-of-life adventures, but perhaps my favorite thing about the series is author Ari’s depiction of disability in a fantastical world.

Spoilers for Always Human below, as well as a trigger warning for discussions of ableism and fatphobia.

(via Webtoons)

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Magical Mondays: Flying Witch and Magical Realism

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(screencapped from Crunchyroll)

Flying Witch did for witches what Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid did for dragons: just had them be kinda there, going about their daily business instead of getting wrapped up in some sort of epic fantasy plot. Makoto, the protagonist of Flying Witch, is a young witch completing her training, but is she rollicking along on some sort of Harry Potter-ish adventure attending a haunted magic school and defeating evil incarnate? No, she’s just doing the gardening. Occasionally she unearths a howling mandrake and disturbs her friends and neighbors, but otherwise she lives a relatively conflict-free existence, sitting where she does in the place where the “supernatural” and “slice-of-life” genres meet. Which is, it turns out, pretty near the dreamy land of magical realism.

Spoilers for Flying Witch episode 11 beyond!

Flying Witch is not a show you watch for conflict and action—it’s quite literally just the day-to-day goings on of a girl’s life in a rural town, including high school cooking classes, vegetable planting, and long conversations about the history of the pancake… oh, with the occasional bit of magic woven in. There’s no overarching plot, no tension, no mysteries or intrigue as we glimpse the magical world. The witches in this universe don’t have a statute of wizarding secrecy so much as just keep to themselves because they like it better that way, which pretty much tells you all you need to know about the series’ casual tone and casual acceptance of magic. Apart from some initial shock when Mako floats on her broom for the first time (and some comedic reactions to the yelling plant), the existence of magic is basically accepted by the cast and by the story without anyone batting an eyelid.

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Londinium Calling? Let It Go To Voicemail: A Legend of the Sword Review

Legend of the Sword Poster

From nothing comes a plot… j/k there’s still “nothing”. (via Art of VFX)

As soon as I read the title for Alyssa Rosenberg’s movie review in The Washington Post, I knew I had to watch King Arthur: Legend of the Sword as soon as I could. Rosenberg’s title is “It took awhile, but I found a movie worse than ‘Batman v. Superman: like, come on, how could I not be pulled in by that? Now, I may not have seen Batman v. Superman unlike some unfortunate souls on this blog, but I still know a bad movie when I see it, and hoo boy, is Legend of the Sword some shit. Unlike Rosenberg, I’m not willing to write the entire movie off as being not worth anyone’s time–though I do agree with her on many of her points. Parts of Legend of the Sword are exactly the schlocky “thinks of itself too highly” moments that make a lot of popular movies great and fun to watch. Still, the rest of it is a convoluted mess that “thinks of itself too highly” in the worst possible pompous British way imaginable; both sides are constantly duking it out in a street brawl that never quite gets a definitive victor.

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Knocking On Pixar’s Door: Light Chaser Animation’s Big Dreams for Little Door Gods

There’s been a spate of whitewashed and appropriated Asian roles in American-made movies recently, but there have been very few geeky movies which actually star Asian actors (to my knowledge, at least). Since this is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, though, I wanted to watch some geeky Asian films. To do so, I had to go through our archives before finally landing on Little Door Gods, a film I found out about in late 2015. Though it never got an American release, I did find it on the internet (just, you know, around).

Little Door Gods (小門神) is the first feature-length film from Light Chaser Animation, a Chinese animation studio which launched because of what founder Gary Wang saw as the lack of movies featuring Chinese mythology. (Probably a good call; it doesn’t look like Hollywood is going to get to Asian inclusivity anytime soon.) Wang has said that he wants to create “the Pixar of China,” and he’s even hired some animators who used to work for Pixar and DreamWorks in pursuit of his goal. His first movie is… definitely good, but not Pixar-worthy yet.

Spoilers for Little Door Gods below!

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Trailer Tuesdays: Icarus

Given that the world is already full of enough horror at the moment, I decided to forgo the bizarre thriller flick I found and talk about an upcoming animated feature instead. Most of us have a pretty good grasp on at least one or two Greek myths–even if you didn’t have a unit about them in school, they’re somewhat inescapable in popular media. With re-imaginings like Percy Jackson maintaining a modicum of popularity, it’s no surprise that studios continue digging down into the mythology wellspring. Today I present a new take of the story of Icarus that has as much potential to be enthralling and thought-provoking as it does to be boring and even offensive.

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Fanfiction Fridays: Lunar Interlude: Something New by Wildgoosery

Welcome back from our May blog break! I hope you all had a good May the Fourth, despite everything that’s been going on and all the calls to the government that you may or may not be making. It’s hard times in the world lately, and sometimes we just need to relax, you know? That’s why I’m kicking us off this month with this good good The Adventure Zone fanfic.

Spoilers through Episode 50 of The Adventure Zone.

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