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Sep 20, 2019
The culture surrounding sex is fucking wild, man. It would’ve been perfectly fine if we just left it as something that feels good to do with people you appreciate and also sometimes makes babies, but noooooo. We had to wrap it in a million different layers of shame and discomfort and taboo until the entire concept became so poisoned that even thinking about it can be enough to ruin a teenager’s life forever. How the hell is anyone, let alone those whose brains haven’t fully matured, supposed to figure out how to relate to sex when every answer comes with a million unnecessary and harmful read more
Sep 19, 2019
Given (Anime) add (All reviews)
A soft, dappled light pools in the corner of a stairway, warm and nostalgic like a home you never realized you were missing. A boy sleeps in that light, a guitar clutched to his chest. From a glance, he seems adrift, like a lost rowboat bobbing on a dark, cloudy ocean. For a moment, all is silent and still. It might as well be a framed photograph.

Then, the silence is broken by the arrival of a grumpy, sarcastic basketball player who’s none too happy at seeing his favorite napping spot taken by someone else.

So begins Given, a show that achieves its humble intentions better than read more
Sep 19, 2019
For as simple a show as it is, Astra Lost in Space has made things very confusing for me over the summer. Part of me wants to say it overall doesn’t work, that it’s hamstrung by awkward construction and weird decisions that make things needlessly unstable. But another part of me feels a smile creeping across his face when I think back on the adventure I’ve shared with these crazy kids. It’s a show that works more in bits and pieces than as a cohesive whole, with no shortage of moments that really spoke to me and left a positive impression that nevertheless all float read more
Sep 16, 2019
Out of all the complaints I could make about To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts, the most galling and unforgivable one is that there’s not technically anything wrong with it. It has a strong, memorable premise that lends itself to a lot of different possibilities. From that premise, it uses its fantastical elements to explore mature, interesting themes that all play into its larger point. The characters all have recognizable emotional arcs that take them from point A to point B through a series of logical beats. The story makes decent sense, without ever asking you to stretch your suspension of disbelief beyond the point of read more
Sep 16, 2019
Well, I think it’s official; I am not a fan of Makoto Shinkai’s pre-Your Name career. Perhaps it’s by virtue of A Place Promised in Our Early Days being easily the weakest thing he’s ever put out, but watching this film, I couldn’t help but be exhausted by his entire sensibility. He’s spent just over a decade telling and re-telling the same basic story, and no matter how many variations he puts on it or how well he addresses his deficiencies, the basic mechanism by which he tells these stories is fundamentally flawed. His stories drag on and on through countless slow, plodding landscape shots, read more
Sep 10, 2019
Essentially, this OVA is just an extended character hang-out session set between the second and third arcs, giving us an hour’s worth of time with the Roswaal Manor crew just hanging around the mansion against the backdrop of magic shenanigannery from Puck. As a result, it lacks the underlying darkness, grit and catharsis that defines Re:Zero at its best, the moments that propelled it into a genuine masterpiece, the sense of constant purpose and meaning that made the first season feel like such a complete package. But man, with characters this great, I’ll always appreciate being able to spend more time with them, and I read more
Sep 10, 2019
Continuing my odd quest to watch everything Makoto Shinkai’s made, his debut short, Voices of a Distant Star, is… well, it’s not good, but it IS informative. It’s got everything I’ve come to expect from him: underplayed melancholy monologues, sad piano music, landscapes colored in gradients of desaturated light, themes of love fading across an immeasurable divide and the necessary pain of growing up and leaving things behind, the whole works. This is very much the RWBY volume 1 of Shinkai’s work: evidence of considerable talent that will be tapped much more completely later on, but for the moment is let down by amateur construction read more
Sep 10, 2019
The more I explore Makoto Shinkai’s backlog, the more convinced I become that Your Name was such a success in large part because it introduced the one element that his previous work lacks: joy. Prior to his blockbuster smash, Shinkai’s work was all incredibly atmospheric and subdued, painted in brush strokes of sadness and longing, tempered by sad piano music and pining across distance that crescendos and fades into a vibrant nothingness of lonely color and light. As a filmmaker, he’s obsessed with the ache of the barriers between people, the feeling that comes when the person you long to be with is separated from read more
Sep 7, 2019
Akira (Anime) add (All reviews)
There is no other movie like Akira.

I’ve been spinning my thoughts over in my head ever since I finally got around to watching this storied classic, and that’s the conclusion I keep coming back to. Akira is singular in a way that almost no piece of media can claim. Sure, plenty of movies and TV shows are like Akira. Plenty of anime and Western media in the decades since its creation have drawn obvious influence from its iconography, themes and story beats. The legacy of Akira stretches so far, reaching into so many pockets of today’s popular culture, that it’s not unfair to say that read more
Jul 28, 2019
It’s been a long time since I watched Diamond is Unbreakable, and in the time since, my tastes and writing tendencies have evolved so drastically I hardly even recognize myself from back then. I’ve experienced so much more from this medium than I’d ever thought possible, both good and bad, heights and lows alike. In the process, I’ve developed a much clearer understanding of what I value in fiction, why I value it, what ideas speak to me and what executions matter the most. It’s been an exhilarating, exhausting, invigorating learning experience all around. And it’s at last brought me to a conclusion that I read more