Sunstone – Love, humor, and heart hidden in a BDSM story

Man, it’s been a while since I’ve had to do this but forewarning, the content in question is Not Safe For Work.  Before that scares you off, though, this graphic novel is sold in the normal kind of stores and has a beautiful point for it’s use of sexual imagery.  Also, while this topic may not exactly be anime related, the author of this work in question is a super nerd and takes obvious influences from Japanese media. Plus, it’s my own damn article and I just wanna write about this, okay?

Sorry, that got a little confrontational…  Lemme just start.

Sex is often a very taboo topic, particularly when it comes to where I live here in America.  We’ve become more accustomed to talking about violence and aggression than all that other stuff that gives you cooties.  Basically, you can watch people die horrifically and it’ll get a PG-13 rating but if two girls kiss “OH NO!  Grab the pitchforks ‘cause it’s time fer a burnin’!”

With a bit of a flipped morality like that, it can be hard to find well-written stories that approach the topic of sex with the right respect and openness that it deserves.  Honestly, it seems to me that it’s sometimes easier to find a story that uses rape as a means of moving the plot forward than one that uses consensual intercourse.  And while there are efforts to educate and make things better.  Education is only one side of the coin.  We also need it represented tastefully in our media to expose and normalize the topic along with all the other aspects and types of affection and love.

Enter my exhibit A for the court hearing on tasteful representation of sex: the graphic novel Sunstone.

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Just Because! Episodes 3 + 4 – Writing Between the Lines

Author’s Note: Apologies for the lateness of this post.  I’m sure most people have already moved onto to episode five by now of this fantastic show but I was held up with personal issues that couldn’t be helped. To make up for it, I tried to put a lot of effort into this so I hope you all enjoy.  Also, spoilers and such as some stuff goes down in episode four.

Episodes three and four of Just Because! ended up continuing to validate my immediate love for this show.  While the drama and plot aren’t crazy or off the wall, the natural dialogue and slower pace allow me to appreciate all that’s happening for our crew of seniors trudging towards their graduation and murky futures.  Every scene and interaction is chock full of a surprising amount of engagement for a show that relies heavily on realistic drama and humor.  Plus, these characters are just so dang lovable, even when their hearts are breaking from all the pain they give each other.

[HorribleSubs] Just Because! - 04 [1080p].mkv_snapshot_03.16_[2017.11.05_21.38.27]

You know it’s a sad scene when even the dog is frowning.

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Blogwarming Party!

This is a super awesome idea.  Check out this post and help out, if you can!

I drink and watch anime

You guys remember when I use to pretend to review anime? Yeah, me either… 

Boys and girls, I need your help. I’ve been kicking around this idea for a project for some time now and I want your input.

Back when I started this little blog, in the olden days of last July, I was pretty lost in this brave new blogging world. I really would have appreciated some type of kiddie pool to get my toes wet before jumping in. I know now that you’re clearly all the bestest and undisputed sweethearts but at the time, it was a little scary.

Furthermore, I am lucky enough to have some free time and debatable priorities so I get the chance to read a lot of your posts and discover all sorts of new blogs. This is a privilege that precious few have and I’m sure we all end up missing…

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Princess Principal Episode 10 – Reunions and Revelations

As far as case numbers go, chronologically, this is the farthest forward we’ve gone yet, at Case 22.  It definitely was intentional to save this one for almost next to last as episode ten is the tipping point to what will most likely be an freaking epic conclusion to the series.  However, before I jump the gun to some real big shit (like the biggest of cliffhangers yet for this show) we’ve got an episode with a possible double agent, plenty of intrigue, and a character from both Ange and Dorothy’s past.

Time to send in the RSVPs ‘cause it’s gosh dang class reunion.

[HorribleSubs] Princess Principal - 10 [1080p].mkv_snapshot_05.36_[2017.09.19_00.40.52]

Reunions are fun, aren’t they?

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Princess Principal Episode 7 – We Can Do It!

Another episode, another reason to like this show.  I have no idea how they’ll tie some of the threads between these different cases together as we’re now working our way towards the ending, but I’m enjoying the ride nonetheless.

While definitely a departure from the emotionally charged last episode, this one is just as good in what it attempts to do.  Going from sadness to peppy optimism this episode, our group of spy girls attempt to stop a nerve gas assassin by going undercover in a laundry mill, blending in with the other poor girls who are tasked with washing the military’s uniforms.  I have to say, every scene in this episode exudes the feelings and ideas of Rosie the Riveter, women working hard together and accomplishing great things by their own hands and effort, and the wonderful ways in which our main characters help these girls in the mill succeed and even buy out their own business to run it themselves was fantastic.  The ending then nicely tied the bow by the cast commenting on how they’ve left their friends in the mill empowered and able to take care of themselves now.  This is a great idea to see expressed in this show and Princess Principal never seems to drop the ball in representing some kickass female characters.

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She is adorable but believe me.  She is insanely kickass.

 

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Princess Principal Episode 4 – Name Pending

Here we are entering episode four of this journey into cute spies doing devious things and I cannot overstate how solid the quality of this show has been through and through.  The team behind this seem to know exactly what they’re doing and the purposeful telling of this story out of order has us guessing at every turn what side the individuals in our main cast are on.  I’m so excited to see where this goes and after being burned last season, I am hoping against hope that the crew at Studio 3Hz keep this up.  It just seems too good to be true.  …Almost as if we’re being lied to- I’m sorry for the crappy joke.

While the last two episodes actually had case numbers that followed each other, we’re back to jumping around again, going from Case 2 over to Case 9 now, a few cases before the first episode’s Case 13.  While the jumping around has made me sad because we had such great origin stories for a few characters and the team as a whole, this episode actually touched on similar ideas a little on its own by putting a bit more focus on two characters we know little about:  Dorothy and Chise.

[HorribleSubs] Princess Principal - 04 [1080p].mkv_snapshot_06.19_[2017.08.06_22.52.45]

The latter being this dork on the right.

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My feelings on the Netflix situation.

Whoo boy, this one is gonna be opinionated.  These are just my own personal feelings on this, this isn’t representative of the whole Backloggers.  I just felt like sharing and one hundred forty characters didn’t feel like enough.

Look, first and foremost, I am not stating people should pirate anime.  Please, support the creators in any way you can and in every way available legally.  A quick look at the Animator Housing project or the median salary of people in the industry should be enough of a wake up call that the people who make anime are in deep shit and they need every ounce of help they can get.  

However, for those that are taking the high ground on this debacle with Netflix, let’s be completely realistic here:  Netflix has metaphorically taken the starter pistol on their first major foray into this and shot themselves in the leg.  The anime community in the western world has a several decades long history of piracy because it was simply the only option for a vast amount of shows.  It’s only recently that we’ve even blessedly had Crunchyroll among others popping up to give us an alternative to waiting for years for Funimation and Aniplex (or Heaven forbid 4Kids) to license something, if they ever choose to.

This is what Netflix should be fighting. This is what we are fighting who want legal alternatives that support the very industry that gives us this entertainment.  But the only way to fight piracy isn’t to say “Hey, we’re legal.  That’s what you care about, right?”  That doesn’t matter to people who just want to watch a show and it definitely doesn’t matter for the multiple people I work with that are casually watching Naruto and Attack on Titan and have me crying every day when I look over and they’re on KissAnime, watching the shittiest of quality streaming with “who knows who translated this” subs.  I mean, in the entirety of me watching Game of Thrones, I had a multitude of friends and family talking to me about the show and the only one among them I knew had an account was my dad.  I understand this is anecdotal but it’s pretty obvious that if people want content, regardless of if they’re “hardcore” or “casual”, they’ll find a way to watch it and the reaction from across Twitter, even from people who work for licensors and distributors echoes this same mentality.

What Netflix needs to be is competitive against this.  The only way to stop piracy is to make things easy, affordable, and more competitive than the alternative.  However, when you hold shows for over a year, it isn’t easy on the consumer, it isn’t affordable if we have nothing to pay for, and it’s the complete opposite of competitive when the pirates already have it up and ready to go day one.  Going back to the runner analogy above, it’s like Netflix finally got into the sprint at the Olympics and then intentionally broke their leg on the starting line.  Why did they even show up?  They stole that spot from some other runner (CR, Amazon, etc.) who would actually try to race.  Instead, we got them.

And that’s another issue here.  We finally have competitive answers against piracy that are doing great work out there.  CR is doing a great job of grabbing licenses and Amazon is definitely fumbling their way through this, but their actual content is amazing and readily available if you have the bank for it.  If Netflix never grabbed these shows in the first place, you can bet your ass CR, Amazon, or any of the newcomers would have snatched these and we’d be watching weekly.  Instead, Netflix sniped the shows and expects people to wait.

Yes, piracy is wrong and yes, with 100% certainty we need to support the industry because they’re barely supporting their own creators.  But the bottom line is that regardless of morality, people will absolutely be pirating these shows because Netflix refuses to work with the community and is putting their own policies over their consumer’s needs.  That is unacceptable.

It just sucks.  It sucks because the pirates are given validation, it sucks because CR and all the others are screwed out of a great licensing deal, it sucks for us because we now have to wait for possibly over a year to even watch shows like Kakegurui, and to top it all off, it sucks for the anime creators because all their hard work is put on the back-burner internationally.  They potentially won’t see a cent from us until a year after their show originally aired unless we decide to buy up merch for a show we’ve never seen.

So thanks, Netflix.