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Dec 28, 2022
Many of us got ourselves into anime because we felt, at the time, that unlike the other visual media, anime was making the impossible happen. The most absurd premises, the silliest plot turns, the wildest character designs—nothing was off the table. It was a world of new possibilities that no other medium even attempted to cover. Where else would you find a comprehensive treatise on parent-child alienation, toxic relationships, and personal growth disguised as a grotesquely violent mecha vs. kaiju battle peppered with Judeo-Christian mythology? Only in anime, my friends.

We've grown complacent and didn't notice the creeping change. As any medium or art form establishes ...
Jul 31, 2022
The Boxer (Manga) add
Well-writtenWell-written
Ji-Hoon Jeong, also known as JH and famous for being one of the most thought-provoking Korean webtoon authors around, has graced us with his most ambitious—and easily the most accomplished work to date, finally expanding his range from imaginative but borderline surrealistic dystopian parables to a more grounded, lived-in narrative setting. It feels almost cozy in comparison but aims for the same heights when it comes to writing quality.

The Boxer tells the story of Yu, a silent, emotionless boxer whose intense mental trauma coming from a childhood of abuse has given him a savant-like ability to perceive time as if in a slow motion. Yu ...
Jul 22, 2022
The Fable (Manga) add
Well-writtenWell-written
It's funny how this works. The Fable's subject matter is something that'd be par for the course in Japanese pop culture of the 60s, the 70s, or even the 80s. But today, in 2022, it feels so out of place it once again becomes a breath of fresh air. There's nothing quite like it in the current media landscape, making any meaningful comparison extremely challenging—and, frankly, unneeded: its storytelling accomplishments stand firmly on their own legs.

The Fable's premise and narrative style occupy an unlikely middle ground between a classic sitcom and a dead-serious film noir. It tells a story of a pair of elite hitmen ...
Jun 3, 2022
Manager Kim (Manga) add
Mixed Feelings
Preliminary (16/? chp)
Manager Kim is the fifth entry in Taejun Park's literary universe and stars several minor characters from some of its bigger titles, such as Lookism and Viral Hit (also known as How to Fight). The titular character, Mr. Kim, must save his daughter who is abducted and presumed dead. He's also a former black ops officer and this whole situation makes him very, very angry.

You might think this premise sounds a lot like that movie franchise, Taken. You might even recall the particular dialogue from the first movie that became so iconic: "I have a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over ...
May 21, 2022
FunnyFunny
I don't enjoy the fact that this music video exists at all, let alone it being so popular and highly rated, with over 250 million views and 2.7 million likes on YouTube since its premiere in November 2019.

The song it's based on tells the story of a young man who fell in love with a mysterious woman possessing an aloof personality and suicidal tendencies. Although they seemingly enter a relationship, she keeps pushing the man away and shuts him out, wanting to "end it all". The man is frustrated at his powerlessness but chooses to believe in a good resolution until he caves and develops ...
Apr 27, 2022
Golden Kamuy (Manga) add
It's always a bittersweet feeling when a great long-running series ends, it's a lot like parting with a dear friend who has kept you company for years and could always be relied on to cheer you up. And now that Golden Kamuy has ended its eight-year-long rollercoaster of emotions, and done so on a high note and under its own terms, I'm not treating it lightly when I say it is a gem that only occurs maybe two or three times a decade. You need to read it. If Satoru Noda keeps up the level he set for himself, he may well become the next ...
Jan 25, 2022
Solo Leveling (Manga) add
Mixed Feelings
Solo Leveling is the literary equivalent of an 8 year old playing make-believe with plastic toys. I can tell because I used to be one.

It goes like this: DUNGEON RAID START DOOM BOOM LEVEL UP CRACK SMACK BOSS FOUND IT'S THE KING OF VAMPIRE OGRE LORDS WHOOSH WHAT IS THIS BLAM SHAZAM OH NO YOU DON'T BANG KERRANG SKILL USED "ULTRA THROAT SLIT" CRITICAL HIT BOSS DEAD LEVEL UP LEVEL UP LEVEL UP +675 TO ALL STATS YOU'VE FOUND THE ELIXIR OF SUPER IMMORTALITY YOU'VE FOUND THE DARK SWORD OF PAINFUL DEATH +36457165 TO ATTACK YOU'VE LEARNED A NEW SKILL "INFINITE ANNIHILATION" etc.

(No, that's not ...
Jan 7, 2022
Mixed Feelings
Preliminary (Unknown/? chp)
Making somebody laugh every once in a while is not, by itself, a huge achievement. Whenever I'm casually talking to somebody, even if it's a person I've just met, I'm often cracking jokes or making witty remarks—and much of the time they land. Let's say one in three or four does. That's decent for an average person in a social situation but not remotely enough for a successful stand-up act. The goal there is making unfamiliar people who aren't predisposed to liking you consistently laugh at a majority of your jokes. This requires a talent for storytelling, some degree of acting ability and enunciation, and ...
Dec 24, 2021
Writing a romance story set in Japan in the early 20th century that doesn't feel exploitative is a tall order. Back then, women were still perceived as little more than the property of their parents (namely fathers) with the equally endearing prospect of becoming the property of their future husbands via an arranged marriage. They were mostly uneducated, had very few rights, their career opportunities were severely limited and had all sorts of visible and invisible barriers. Not exactly the best place and time to be born without the fifth limb, as you can imagine. It followed that true romance for a woman of a ...
Dec 19, 2021
Mieruko-chan (Anime) add
Mieruko-chan tells the story of a high school student Miko Yotsuya who suddenly became highly receptive to spirits of the dead and other otherworldly beings, and now she constantly runs into them trying to pretend she doesn't see them so that they leave her alone. Fortunately, that helps every time. The title is a play on the word "mieru"—"to see", and that's just about the last clever thing you'll see the series do.

The whole premise of "a girl sees spooky ghosts and is scared but keeps her cool" sounds like something that would wear itself thin almost immediately—and what do you know, that is exactly ...