Links & Things

Want just the manga reviews?  Head over to The Manga Test Drive!

Want more writing from me?  Check out my previous articles at Anime Feminist!

Want to hear me talking with friends about manga?  Check out my takes on Wandering Son, Tropic of the Sea, X-Day, Sweet Rein, Legal Drug, and Clover on the (sadly defunct) Rainy Day Reading podcast and on The Key to the Kingdom at Shojo And Tell!

Want to hear me talking with friends about (mostly bad) anime?  Check out my takes on Diabolik Lovers, Miracle Train, Perfect Blue, Another, Vividred Operation, High School DxD, Lance 'n' Masques, and Upotte!  at the Heavy Storms podcast!

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Disaster Report: WEISS KREUZ

This story begins with a man named Takehito Koyasu.

He's a prolific seiyuu best known these days as the voice of Dio Brando, but in the mid 1990s he was known and loved for voicing smug bishonen such as Hotohori in Fushigi Yugi, Touga on Revolutionary Girl Utena, and Zechs Marquise on Gundam Wing.  He was enjoying a level of success at that time that only a handful of voice actors ever get to enjoy, but that was not enough for him. 

He saw how much money producers were making off of the shows he worked on.  He also had an ego that demanded that the world recognize him and his other seiyuu friends not just as voice actors, but as superstars of many talents.  To achieve both of these goals, Koyasu need to create his own original work, and he already had a concept in mind.  It was a tale of four tormented young men fighting against the evils of the criminal underworld.  By day they worked as florists; by night they worked as assassins.  He initially wanted to call it The Cat People, bu…

Anime Secret Santa: THEY WERE ELEVEN

This post is brought to you by this year's Anime Secret Santa.  Thanks to the folks at All Geeks Considered for hosting this year, and thanks to Evan Minto (@VamptVo) for the suggestion!

For all the fuss that manga fans make over the Magnificent Forty-Niners, shockingly few of their works have made the leap to animation.  Keiko Takemiya has been the most fortunate, with three works total including two of her most notable manga.  Rikoyo Ikeda had twoworks that became landmarks in shojo anime.  Even Yumiko Ooshima got a lovely, lavish adaptation of her best-known work.  Meanwhile, Moto Hagio's contributions to anime have been limited to character designs for The Time Stranger (not to be confused with GoShogun: The Time Etranger) and the 1986 adaptation of her 1974 short story They Were Eleven.


An anime based on the works of Junji Ito should be a success by any measure.  Ito's combination of Lovecraftian horror stories combined with his spooky, heavily textured art has been a favorite of many for decades.  His works have only increased in popularity over the years, making him one of the very few horror mangaka to enjoy success outside of Japan.  Yet translating those works to motion seems to be another matter entirely.

An Essay On Anime, Fandom, and Metaphorical Comets of Joy

Recently I've been thinking on those times when life is hard and then some piece of media comes blazing through your life like a comet, bringing a little bit of light and wonder in its wake.

I remember around this time of year three years ago, when I stuck in a long stretch of unemployment.  Few things chip away at your self-confidence than the endless search for a job, trying to tell total strangers what you think they want to hear and trying to project enough confidence to pretend that you can do some random office job in some industry that feels miles away from your true calling.  That's where I was, filling the time that wasn't spent in that search (or the resulting funks that came from the lack of results) with household work and writing reviews.

That's when the fall season of anime started, which included what was easily the most hyped show of the season, an original work by a well-acclaimed lady director about (of all things) ice skating.

Of course, that show wa…


The story of Anime Strike is a short and frustrating one.  Started on New Year's Day of 2017, it was meant to be a way for Amazon to tap into the growing market for anime streaming.  Within a short time, they managed to piss off anime fans by locking their shows behind a double paywall, using poor quality subtitles (when they remembered to subtitle their shows at all), frequent and inexplicable delays in their uploads, and little in the way of promotion for themselves and their shows.  The service quietly shut down after a year, mourned by no one in particular and leaving little in the way of impact.

Anime Strike was a bad idea for many reasons, but its greatest disservice was to the shows they licensed.  While some shows such as Made In Abyss or Land of the Lustrous were able to rise above Anime Strike's limitations, the rest were largely ignored by the service and anime fans alike.  It's only now that some of them are starting to be rediscovered as they make their way to…

Disaster Report: First Love Monster

It’s hard to come up with a new twist on shoujo romance. We have over half a century’s worth of manga and anime on the subject, and often it feels like virtually every twist and concept possible has been explored at least once. Good creators can overcome this sense of fatigue through thoughtful writing and new perspectives. Bad creators overcome it by adding sensationalist elements to grab the public’s notice, and more often than not this trick is turned until the sensationalist part becomes normalized. We’ve seen this happen before with lolicon. We saw it happen more recently with incest, particularly where little sisters are concerned. In the case of First Love Monster, based on the manga by Akira Hiyoshimaru, we saw it attempted yet again with one of the few taboos left in the world of anime and manga: shotacon.

Shotacon, like lolicon before it, is a Japanese slang term for the sexualized portrayal of pre-pubescent children. In this case it’s focused on boys, but unlike lolicon it’s…

Black Rose Alice (GN 1-3)

There are a lot of vampires in shoujo manga.This is just a simple fact.Poke around your local Barnes & Noble or Books-a-Million and you’re bound to find titles like Vampire KnightHe’s My Only VampireHoney BloodMillennium Snow, and so many more.They all tend to be populated by  beautiful and tormented young men who are all simply waiting for some lovely young thing to come wandering into their undead life to bring them the love and redemption they all seem to be seeking in various degrees.It’s incredibly predictable, incredibly derivative, and it’s enough to make any seasoned manga reader cynical about vampires in manga in general.Every once in a while, though, we get a manga series that manages to take an old idea like vampire romance and do something new and interesting with the idea. Amongst those select few titles is Black Rose Alice, the latest series from Afterschool Nightmare and X-Day creator Setona Mizushiro.

We start out in Vienna at the turn of the 20th century, whe…