The month of July — a month that I would consider an extreme one in terms of weather. Scorching hot days resembling a desert are many, that is unless you live somewhere the humidity is overbearing or storms every single day of the week like I do.
Either way, just because July may not be the best in terms of weather doesn’t mean that it should be that way for anime content, and with the transition of the anime seasons happening this month, there’s a whole bunch of takes going around about some hot summer shows! That’s not even mentioning the throwbacks, anime convention content (or con-tent, I should say), or films that have been floating around the community.
Anyway, let’s dive into some of those pieces of the month that we at Backloggers HQ thought were pretty cool!
(And no, I will not apologize for the pun, sorry.)
Maquia and Defining Loneliness – Alicia Haddick (@socialanigirl)
I had the joy of being able to take a day-trip to go and see Maquia in theaters, and I have to say it was far worth my time, despite my heavy skepticism near the beginning of the film and my overall uneasiness about fantasy-esque settings. While there are posts about some of the technical aspects as well as the more prevalent themes of Maquia, this one by Alicia stood out to me among some of the reviews/think-pieces that I came across.
One of the strongest aspects of the films are the bonds we have to each other and to the world around us, and this post goes through how the movie portrays the feeling of having those bonds around us change can be so painful. Maquia did such a good job portraying this in the film, and this post just conveys that viewpoint of the film so well. There’s so many things that can be emotionally understood by that film, and I’ve enjoyed seeing all the different posts about it.
I recommend seeing the film when you are able to, in all of its overwhelming beauty and emotions, and definitely check out Alicia’s post as well.
To Be A Center — Shoujo ☆ Kageki Revue Starlight Episode 1 – Atelier Emily (@AJtheFourth)
Revue Starlight is one of the few shows I would consider “trending” in terms of the season right now, and it has every right to be that way. There’s so many aspects within it that are just astounding or intriguing enough that pushes you to continue on to the next episode, even if some of those aspects are purely visual or even when it’s just a new take on an old concept. Works have succeeded and have been regarded as classics with those criteria before, and Atelier Emily’s episodic series on Revue Starlight makes sure to give all of those aspects their own time in the spotlight.
This particular episodic post and episode of Revue Starlight focuses on of becoming a “center”, a popular term in theatrics and performing idol groups as well. Revue Starlight uses many aspects from both of these to discuss particular feelings that the characters have, all with the visual symbolism that an Ikuhara work would have, despite him not being directly attached to the show’s staffing. It’s fun to keep up with Emily’s thoughts week-by-week alongside watching the show, so if you happen to be watching the show as well, I’d give her write-ups a look, as they’re always an intriguing read.
It’s hard to believe that Fastest Finger First aired a whole year ago, and while it was mostly a forgotten gem of the season (alongside Gamers!, the romcom ride of the century), it’s nice to see people like Irina be able to pick up a show with an interesting concept a year later and talk about how much they enjoyed the show, despite all of the flaws that it might have had. I just really appreciate seeing old seasonal shows like this have their moment in the spotlight and being discussed, even if the shows themselves aren’t exactly the best discussion material or the best works out there.
Personally, I feel that part of anime is discovery of these sorts of shows, whether they’re bad, good, a year old, or ten years old. It always just is an enjoyable experience to read about other people thoughts on shows, and that’s exactly what this post is; an enjoyable read. Thanks Irina!
General Tofu’s Picks
Swords and Saucepans: Domesticity, Masculinity, and Emiya Shirou – The Afictionado
I have a confession to make: I can’t personally attest to having watched anything within the Fate franchise. It’s always seemed like such a huge, sprawling family of shows, visual novels, and other bits of media here and there that it has seemed like a pretty solid barrier to entry. That, coupled with character dynamics and such that I have heard about with regards to the show itself are things that have kept the Fate series on my back-burner for quite a while. However, the Afictionado’s piece here about Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family shows a fascinatingly warm side of the Fate franchise that I have never seen or heard of before, and it actually makes me want to jump into it somewhat.
But enough about me. The ways in which the Afictionado addresses how the Fate franchise has addressed gendered norms, both good and bad, and how it currently reflects such a blow against toxic masculinity and heteronormativity is fascinating to read. We have plenty of cooking shows wherein we find male leads doing incredible things with food, but few of these shows actually do so and also put the men in a space of domesticity, and the discussion within this piece of the domestic aspect of Shirou’s cooking is splendid. Even though I can’t say I’m an avid watcher of Fate, this piece was a joy to read, and I would suggest it to anyone.
Frog-kun’s piece about How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom is both a great read about some of the light novel’s pitfalls, as well as a pretty detailed discussion about privilege (which should come as no surprise; it says so on the tin) and the shades of it that we get from the philosophies at work within the novel. These days, privilege is a concept that arises much more within our public discourse, and rightly so. It is a force that impacts us all, whether we realize or acknowledge its ubiquity, and the particular permutation of this that Frog-kun discusses is, to sum it up, the privilege of modern knowledge. This leads into some shades of Messiah Complex, The White Man’s Burden, and basically anything that you could consider to be a condescending colonizer’s privilege.
The way in which Frog-kun combines his discussion of the novel, the overall look at privilege as a whole, and his own personal reflections on how these things have come to impact his life and thinking, both past and present, is wonderful, and it’s a piece that I highly, highly recommend.
Darling in the Franxx: Thoughts on a Divisive Anime – Ogiue Maniax
Getting through the end of this past season, I feel like I might be one of the few people who actually ended up enjoying Darling in the FranXX. Darlifra isn’t the best show to come out of Studio TRIGGER or A-1 Pictures, to be fair. However, it also certainly is not this blight that so many people seem to have chalked it up to be. The show does have some issues, and it is certainly disappointing that, in particular, the show took opportunities that it had to present active, prominent romances and relationships that don’t conform to traditional ideas of heteronormativity and…well, made them conform to heteronormativity (generally). It does, however, work to try to be inclusive, despite some of its major narrative choices. There have been other major issues that people have taken with the show, however, and that is where Ogiue Maniax’s piece comes into play.
Darling in the Franxx: Thoughts on a Divisive Anime is exactly what the title says. It tackles a few particular issues that people have taken with the show, and it offers some interesting perspective on each of them. Three of the major themes that it tackles are romance and traditional humanity, how Darlifra holds up alongside some of the traditional mecha canon, and [SPOILERS] the addition of VIRM near the very end of the show and the show’s conclusion itself. Ogiue Maniax offers some interesting perspective on each of these, and while the piece does not necessarily cover everything that I would have as a response piece to some divisive criticism, I really enjoyed reading this, and found myself resonating with a lot of what the piece has to say. If you ended up watching Darlifra this past season, I’d highly recommend giving this piece a read, regardless of where you stand on the issue of whether or not it was a good show.
This month’s posts and picks were brought to you by: vacations, which was the same reason this post was delayed and why Mythos couldn’t be here to bring his monthly round-up picks to the table. Sorry if you were looking forward to those in particular.
As for other blog announcements and house-keeping stuff, we are going to have some summer anime show discussion posts and finish the 3D Kanojo ones too, as well as have all the normal seasonal podcasts up as well; it’s just a matter of everyone being around to actually write them and find the time to do so between everything else we’re doing. It might all be delayed from our usual schedule, but we’re really working on it, I promise!
Anyway, thanks for sticking around and reading the good, good content of our blog and other blogs in the community as well! If you think we might’ve missed any good posts from July or just want to talk to us, let us know through the usual means of our Twitter, the comments below, or that fancy “Contact” page at the top of the blog! Hearing from you guys means a lot to us!