Inside Mari and the other gender

Mangaka Shuuzou Oshimi is an avid explorer of sex, gender and sexuality. From adolescent stories like Avant-garde Yumeko and Sweet Poolside to explorations of sexual desire in Devil Ecstasy and Yuutai Nova, he has repeatedly delved into fascinating questions on the topic in often times uncomfortably intimate detail. Boku wa Mari no Naka, or Inside Mari, is without a doubt his most thorough work in this regard to date. Following twenty-something hikikomori Isao Komori who one morning finds himself inside the body of high school girl Mari Yoshizaki, the series poignantly uses a (seeming) body swap premise to investigate questions of bodily experience, performativity, and the divide between the Self and the Other.Read More »


Why the train scene in Spirited Away is my favorite work by Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki’s decisively strongest quality as a filmmaker has for me always been one very specific thing: immersion. As cliché as it sounds, the sentiment of “being sucked into the movie screen and the world that it presents” is the most accurate description of my viewing experience of his films. Through the fantastical and elaborate settings, the detailed designs and consistently high-quality animation, the unique tones of Hisaishi’s scores, and the dynamic sense of pacing, they present other worlds that are at once exotic and inviting. And no other of his films captures this otherworldliness quite as exemplarily as Spirited Away. Why? Because of its embodiment of isekai.Read More »

Hunter x Hunter (2011) – A closer look at Gon vs Neferpitou

When discussions arise about the best fights in Hunter x Hunter, one frequent candidate is that between Gon and Neferpitou from the Chimera Ant arc, and for good reason. It is one of the most dramatically potent instances in the entire series. But “Gon vs Neferpitou” encompasses more than just a fight; it is a sub-narrative that spans throughout much of the arc, starting with Neferpitou’s initial strike and ending with Gon’s ultimate revenge. The narrative plays out like a tragedy in three acts, as unexpected dramatic developments and unfortunate circumstances result in the equal misery for both parties. In this post, I’m going to chronologically examine the “Gon vs Neferpitou” narrative to see what makes it so great.Read More »

Mob Psycho 100 and the heroic identity

Heroism is a theme that manga author One appears to have a keen interest in. His seminal work One Punch Man challenged dramatic conflicts typically found in superhero narratives, by exploring the comical scenario of a hero defeating every opponent with only one punch. His following work Mob Psycho 100 is in a lot of ways a continuation of this exploration – equally containing hero tropes that get turned on their heads in a parodying fashion – but it also includes a prominent amount of dramatic weight in the equation. In contrast to One Punch ManMob Psycho 100 is mainly a character piece, driven by the inner struggles that its characters undergo in their various relationships to heroism. Some of them rightfully and/or wrongfully inhabit the title of a hero, some try to distance themselves from it, and some desperately desire it. Read More »

Patlabor: Applying realism to the mecha genre


There’s super robot shows, there’s real robot shows like Gundam, and then there’s REAL fucking robot shows like Patlabor

The above quote is taken from the Spotlight episode 1 of the Blade Licking Thieves podcast, discussing the multimedia franchise Mobile Police Patlabor. It is an effectively accurate description of what is a bit of an oddball for both its genre and its time. Throughout the late 1960s and 1970s, mecha anime consisted of so-called super robot shows; up-beat, cartoony series aimed towards young kids wherein colorful robots used their superpowers to kick the asses of evildoers on a weekly basis. In the 1980s, the genre entered a new era following the influence of Mobile Suit Gundam, consisting of real robot shows. Read More »