The Handmaid’s Tale is a modern classic story of one woman’s slavery in a dystopian post-America society. Recently adapted into a show on Hulu, its sixth episode (“A Woman’s Place”) is the first to seriously deviate from the plot of the original novel. Earlier I wondered how Hulu was going to further explore and expand the world of Gilead, and how that would impact the show’s feminist messages. With “A Woman’s Place”, Hulu has started to deliver. We see different women in different positions of power and oppression. Serena Joy takes center stage, but we also spend time with June/Offred (our titular Handmaid) as well as two other women. Each woman tells us something different about the way we respond to slavery.
Spoilers for Episode 6 of The Handmaid’s Tale and warnings for slavery and sex trafficking below.
Hulu’s recent adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale couldn’t have hit our screens at a better time. Just as American politicians are “debating” all kinds of controversial healthcare policies (especially women’s reproductive health), we’re treated to a retelling of Atwood’s feminist dystopian classic. Atwood paints a world in which America is overtaken by a radical right-wing fundamentalist Christian sect, forcing women into subservient roles determined by their fertility. It’s the autobiographical story of June, aka Offred, one woman trying to survive life under the new regime. One of the best things about the Hulu adaptation is its determination to bring complexity to a variety of themes in the story. It’d be easy to write off The Handmaid’s Tale as a religious horror story, but it’s so much more than that.
Spoilers for the first three episodes of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Atwood’s novel, plus trigger warnings for mentions of sexual slavery and forced pregnancy below.
After the roaring success of Netflix’s manyMarvelshows, Hulu has finally thrown their lot in with the comic book crowd and ordered a Runaways live-action series. The Runaways are a team of kids and teenagers who joined up to strike out on their own after they all found out that their parents were supervillains. They didn’t exactly set out to be a superhero team, but because so many of them inherited superpowers or impressive technology from their evil parents, trouble kind of finds them. They are definitely amongst Marvel’s most underrated and under-utilized teams, so it’s great that they’re getting an opportunity to shine in a new series. Personally, if we were going to have a Marvel teen superheroes series I was gunning for my little babes the Young Avengers, but hey, it’s not like I’m bitter or anything. The Runaways and the Young Avengers did have a lackluster team-up once, so I can dream.
There are a lot of important aspects of the Runaways that make them unique, so I have a lot of expectations about this Hulu series. The comics set a high bar for diversity back in 2003, so I have a couple of points that I consider perfectly attainable and also very important for the show to be progressive, inclusive, and true to the comics.
Recently I’ve been spending lots of time on YouTube, and I subscribed to Funimation so I could keep up to date with current anime. Not too long ago I saw the title Yurikuma Arashi. I didn’t know anything about it, but the art in the screencap looked cute, so I watched a random episode. I’ll admit that I’m not the most eloquent person, but I was at a complete loss after watching the opening credits.
Trigger Warning: Mild Nudity and Sexual Themes
I sat there dumbfounded out of sheer confusion. A few minutes later I smacked myself in the head. I knew at least what half of the title meant, but I just didn’t pay attention to it. Yuri, in Japanese, refers to a genre about lesbian relationships. Kuma translates to bear. Then I looked up arashi, which means storm. I was intrigued—if nothing else I wanted to know what “lesbian bear storm” was about—so I decided to finish the series in order. When I saw the opening I was doubtful; worried it was going to be some strange harem anime or something. After watching it, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s bizarre to be sure, but the message was genuine. Almost all of the characters struggle with being lesbians because the world they live in tries to conform them into something else, or in some circumstances, kill them. It’s not the deepest love story, but it shows how society can shun people for being different, or try to change them from being who they truly are. Yurikuma Arashi shows how queer relationships can be complex and difficult, and touches on different forms of love, even familial.
If you’d like to see the show, it’s on funimation’s channel on YouTube, though the entire series is not loaded yet. The full series is offered free on Hulu at present. Bear in mind that it is rated for a mature audience. Spoilers after the jump!
When I was a teenager, a friend of mine suggested watching Princess Tutu. I briefly looked up images, and they gave me a typical shoujo vibe. I was very skeptical that I’d enjoy it, especially since it had to do with ballet and I had no interest in dance, but I finished it anyway since it was highly recommended. The anime started slow, but by the end I couldn’t wait to see the grand finale. Even with my lack of interest in ballet, it showed a surprising level of depth that I wasn’t expecting. The heroine focuses on how to deal with emotional distress, in the healthiest and most optimistic way possible. I found myself getting invested in each and every character and their well-being. Princess Tutu is a strong character who saves people without resorting to violence. As someone who focuses on character development, I was ecstatic to see that Princess Tutu and the main cast are given different roles than you’d expect, and the lessons they reflect real emotional challenges in life that people struggle with. It’s become a classic to me, and I can’t wait to share it with you and other people too!