Kase-san and Pure Yuri

A beautiful and absolutely wonderful discussion of a great manga. I genuinely could not say it better than this person. Please check out their piece and their blog!

Abby Says Words

This essay contains spoilers from Kase-san and Cherry Blossoms.

As a longtime shoujo manga fan (well over a decade at this point) and a relatively new but passionate Yuri fan (Revolutionary Girl Utena was my first foray into the genre back in 2016), the Kase-san series seemed made for me. I was first exposed to the series through the animation clip produced in May 2017, a gorgeous, atmospheric extended AMV of sorts, and then was lucky enough to catch the Kase-san and Morning Glories OVA at AnimeNYC this year (and I got to see it with Yuri expert Erica Friedman, which made the viewing all the more delightful). The OVA left me speechless, and at the Q&A afterward, the director summed the premise of the shoujo series perfectly: he wasn’t focused on conveying a story about women in love, but one about people in love, regardless of…

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[Short Thoughts] KonoSuba: God’s Blessing Upon This Wonderful World (Seasons 1 and 2) — Thus, Hilarity Ensues

When someone mentions the words “comedy anime”, this is often one of the first recently airing shows that will be brought to the table when tossing out names for recommended lists or “must watches”. Not quite an MMO anime of the years past, and not quite an isekai anime of the current years, KonoSuba manages to both cater to the fans of those types of shows, while also simultaneously poking fun at all the ridiculous concepts behind said shows. It may even be tempting to call this type of show a “parody” or a “subversion” of the genres its mimicking. Honestly though, I don’t think either of those terms really fit what this show is.

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Please, Please Don’t Watch W’z

It’s the end of 2018. The year is coming to a close, with a new year and new anime just on the horizon. As I scan over the Winter 2019 season’s offerings, I spy a show called W’z that stirs something within me – it looks a whole lot like Hand Shakers, a show that, no pun intended, shook me to the core almost two years ago. I find a trailer, and sure enough, it’s the same style, aesthetic, and even the jarring gear-looking weapons. I’m having minor heart palpitations. Surely Hand Shakers didn’t get a sequel greenlit – a show that was as consistently panned by critics and viewers alike couldn’t have been given the blessing, let alone the budget, for a season two. I talk to my co-host Owningmatt93, and I’m assured by him that “it’s just the style GoHands does, man. All of their stuff looks like this.” Looking at trailers for, for instance, K: Return of Kings, it does indeed look pretty much exactly the same, aside from a lesser emphasis on a mix of 2D and 3D animation. My fears assuaged somewhat, I continue on with my look at what’s in store for the next few months.

It’s 2019. A new year, a fresh start, and a new season ahead of us for anime. It’s 2019, and I get this message in The Backloggers Slack chat:

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…Wait.

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…No.

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No.

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NO.

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[Season Sampler] The Price of Smiles 1 — Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

If you’re anything like me, you may have given this anime one glance and thought that it looked like a strange concoction of what people would regard as a “generic fantasy show” with very under-stellar elements regarding animation and effects. There’s nothing really that makes this anime stand on its own from just reading the synopsis and watching the PV. To older anime viewers such as myself, it almost looks like a cross between Aldnoah.Zero and Chaika: The Coffin Princess in terms of both style and elements presented to us throughout the show. Both of those shows were at varying levels of popularity and quality, but I think that while comparing Price of Smiles to those shows may be accurate in terms of plot setup and world-building elements, it’s also disingenuous to say that this show is exactly like either of those, as it does have a wide array of differences in terms of execution and tone that keeps it apart as its own entity.

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My thoughts on rape scenes in lieu of Goblin Slayer

Warning:  This may be be difficult for some to read.  If discussion about rape is too much for you, please go ahead and pass on this.  I will always support mental health and taking care of yourself.

The anime adaptation of Goblin Slayer has come out this season and it’s raised a lot of discussion in the community due to some of the material in it with one scene in particular I’ve heard about.  I haven’t seen the scene in question, nor have I sat down to watch a lot of shows this season but I wanted to take time to post my thoughts on rape scenes in general in media because I feel there are a couple of important things to think about when it comes to this discussion.  Once again, this isn’t a direct commentary on this anime as I can’t do that.  I’ve not seen it so I won’t say Goblin Slayer is completely acceptable or to burn it as filth or anywhere in-between.

So to get into it, while I think there are a ton of other factors to consider, I believe there are two big questions to always ask when creators put a rape scene in a series like this.

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Spider-Man – How a game about superheroes got super real.

So, in case anyone missed it, the new Spider-Man game on PS4 is just gosh dang fun. Every little detail of pretending to be Spider-Man swinging through the streets of Manhattan Island is one of my favorite experiences I’ve played in a game in a long time, and Insomniac keeps showing me why they continue to be amazing at what they do.  It’s just so much fun to swing around, to beat up gangs of bad guys, or even to hop down onto the city streets and high-five a fan or finger guns a tourist as they snap a picture of you. It’s not only the systems and mechanics but also the atmosphere of the game, with decent portions of the game taking place on bright, sunny days and with wonderful and fully realized characters going about their lives across New York.  So it came as a surprise to me, a person who was just enraptured and thinking about the gameplay, that after a few hours of playing, I found myself crying.

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Let me back up a bit and give some context.

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Fallout 76 – The Importance of Seeing our Homes in Media

If you’ve listened to our podcast, you’ve probably heard us say a million times that I and the other two Backloggers are originally from a state in the USA called West Virginia.  Huntington WV, to be exact, similar to some other good, good podcast boys.

Plain and simple, we love our home. While I left it a few years back, I’m always homesick for it. Growing up, I took for granted just how freaking beautiful the state was, and the amazing opportunities I was granted by being in a state where even the most major city was not even a mile away from massive forests and rolling mountains.  Camping, hiking, and many other things were second-nature to me. I’ve mentioned it before but Yuru Camp legit had me crying remembering what I had to leave behind for better opportunity.

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I mean, that’s the capitol building for the state.  And that mountain right behind it is the start of the surrounding forest.  Nature be everywhere.

See, my home state is poor.  Very poor, by United States standards, anyway.  As beautiful as it is, West Virginia has been taken advantage of by hundreds of companies that mined it for its natural resources and then took all that money and ran.  We prospered while those companies were here, but they’re mostly gone and so has our fortune. The unemployment rate is higher than the national average and the state government is constantly misappropriating funds.  However, we’ve always been a strong people. We were birthed out of a fighting spirit, seceding from the Confederacy and joining the Union in the American Civil War because we were against slavery.  We were the first ones to start the Railroad Riots of the 1870s because we weren’t going to lie down and let companies destroy the lives of their workers, and we continued that tradition of fighting for the little guys even this year, with the Teachers’ Strikes that started a national movement for better pay state by state for teachers.  We’ve always been a strong people, though we suffer a lot.

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