Giant Robots & Character-Driven Stories

I love watching Giant robots fight.

But for as cool as giant robot fights are, I often feel like the least interesting giant  robot shows I know are ones focused around the fights. Which isn’t to say that giant robot fights are boring, so much as I feel like they’re at their best when they act as a vehicle for character-driven stories.

For a  good example of this, I recently started watching an anime series called Flag, focused around a military unit testing an experimental bipedal  robot known as HAVWC (High Agility Versatile Weapon Carrier).

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IS: An Intersex Story

The following article is about a series which does not yet have a full translation. Certain aspects of the third story are unknown to me at this time, so any and all statements made about them should be taken with a grain of salt.

Finding good media about trans characters is tough, but Intersex stories are even rarer.

Those who are intersex are born with physical characteristics which exclude them from being categorized as distinctly male or female. The not very well understood variation occurs in a small percentage of the population, and those who have it are often either not aware of it, or try to hide the condition. As a result, stories about intersex people are scarce, in any given media. Manga is no exception.

Which is  why I was happy to hear about the manga IS: Otoko Demo Onna Demo Nai Sei by Chiyo Rokuhana. The series deals with the lives of numerous intersex people, split across three different stories. The first two stories are covered in the first volume, while volume 2 onward deals with the life of an intersex person named Haru. I’d like to quickly go over the three stories.

All images in this article have been edited for format and readability.

The first story focuses on an office lady named Hiromi. Hiromi is intersex, possessing one ovary, one testicle, an enlarged clitoris that wasn’t quite a penis, and an underdeveloped vagina. Hiromi’s story focuses on her discomfort with her own body, the general lack of understanding when it comes to intersex people, and her unease about having a relationship with the man she loves.

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PATREON MAKEOVER EXTRAVAGANZA 2K15

Woah nelly, my Patreon hit $100 sooner than I thought it would! Kinda caught me by surprise, so I wasn’t sure what else to do after that! But I’ve figured out some new stuff for it! Let’s take a look!

$350 Goal: Two Updates Per Week

At $350 per month, I could manage to consistently put out at least two updates per week! The current Monday update schedule would switch to a Tuesday-Thursday schedule, with previews going up on Monday and Wednesday!

$750 goal: Three Updates Per Week

At $750 per month, I would effectively be able to quit the job hunt and work on my blog full-time! Monday-Wednesday-Friday updates, with previews on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday! All that in addition to bi-weekly anime reviews!

Wait what?

YES, I SAID BIWEEKLY ANIME REVIEWS

$20 Reward Tier: Timed-Exclusive Anime Reviews

It’s a new rewards tier! Patreon backers get to see new, Bi-weekly anime reviews two weeks before they go up on the blog! The first review will go up on Patreon on Friday, followed by another one two weeks later! Reviews will include movies, shows, OVAs, and maybe even a manga or two! Rather than using a number scoring system, my anime reviews will use a simple three-point system: Thumps Up , Thumbs Middle, and Thumbs Down. Thumbs Up means I liked it and recommend watching it, Thumbs Middle means it’s average or there were parts which made me not want to actively recommend it, Thumbs Down simply means it’s bad and you should avoid it.

I wasn’t expecting my Patreon to reach its goal so soon, but I’m glad it did! I’m happy that I’m able to continue writing for my blog, and I hope it’s able to continue to grow and expand! Thanks to everyone who donated, I love you all!

Bodacious Gay, I Mean Space, Pirates

As gay as anime might seem from the outside looking in, the medium has serious problems with LGBTQ representation.

I could write an entire article on the issues with lesbian subtext in anime (and probably will at some point). Very few characters are full-on gay for each other, and oftentimes shows will simply hint at the possibility of characters liking one another, without actually having the character be in a relationship. The end result being that while many shows have lesbian subtext, few outside of full-on yuri anime will feature lesbian characters in an active relationship.

Which is why it was nice to see actual, unquestionable lesbian characters in Bodacious Space Pirates.

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Gundam Build Fighters: No Gunpla is an Island

I really, really like Gundam Build Fighters.

There are many reasons for that. One is that it’s just a well-made show. The animation is good, the characters are fun, the fight scenes are well-done, and it just all comes together well. But the other reason, and arguably the most important one, is that it’s honest about needing to rely on others.

One of the most common tropes in shonen anime is the protagonist being strengthened by the power of friendship. The protagonist thinks about all the people he’s met and befriended, and this motivates him to power up and defeat the final boss. Or sometimes they’ll have a tinker bell moment where everyone claps their hands and lends the protagonist their power. But in almost every case, the protagonist is the important figure. He is the one who goes out of his way to protect everyone, and he is almost always the one who saves the day.

In Build Fighters, this is not the case.

The main character, Sei Iori, is not protagonist material. He’s a master at building high-quality gunpla, but as far as fighting with them goes, he stinks. He inherited none of his father’s Gunpla-controlling abilities, and no matter how hard he tries, he can’t win a single match. For all his dreams of winning the world tournament, he’s totally incapable of even competing.

That is, until he meets a boy named Reiji.

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