Kingdom Hearts: The Postmodern RPG

On the surface, one can read Kingdom Hearts as an incredibly shallow, capitalistic experience. It’s the product created by one of the biggest Japanese videogame studios and the most enduring and powerful entertainment corporation around.  A game that consists of combining the popular JRPG series Final Fantasy with animated films which have saturated culture on a global scale, it’s very easy to write the whole thing off as a moneymaking crossover. And in a way, it is. We can’t just ignore the money and material behind it. But this blog post is going to stick the knife in a bit deeper, and hopefully explain that something so outwardly simple is actually one of the most unique responses to modern entertainment around. Or die trying. Minor spoilers, nothing for KH3.

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The Question: a short story about growing up gay in Australia

This isn’t my usual prose, but I don’t think I need to explain much about the subject matter. As a warning it may use some derogatory language.

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Twenty-Four Anime I Liked and Why

Recently on Twitter a bingo chart was going around where people put their fave anime on and others marked off the ones they’d seen. For me, I realized that a lot of my picks were pretty unique and represented shows that are mostly overlooked. So I thought I’d elaborate on them a bit and what they’re about. This is a pretty informal rundown.

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Game Thoughts: There but for the grace of Gex go I

The first videogames you play tend to have the biggest impact on you. If not in defining tastes, they’ll be the ones that stick in your head when you think of your childhood. Gex 3D: Enter the Gecko is a game that I’ll always remember, even though it’s a piece of shit, because it was a foundational piece of shit. Going beyond the conventions of its rudimentary 3D platforming worlds, Gex 3D is a gateway into a time I grew out of. It’s kind of like coming home, a bucket of sights, sounds, smells and even tastes of the past. This blog will be about my memories of that game.

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Darling in the FranXX: A complete summary of disaster

Darling in the FranXX, or Darlifra, is probably one of the most impressive failures I’ve seen in years. Hyped up by Studio Trigger fans despite the mixed nature of the studio’s actual role in the production(Trigger was involved in creative roles the whole way through in collab with A1) and garnering a large fanbase, the show managed to take an interesting setting and a decent cast of characters and proceed to do nothing with them for twenty episodes. Add to this some confusing design and structure decisions, uncomfortable and kinda sexist writing, uneventful fights and dull music, and you have a show that feels like a hollow imitation of earlier titles. This blog is going to go over the events of the series now that it’s finished and discuss the aspects of why it just doesn’t work, or at least didn’t for me. I don’t think I need to qualify that since I’m writing this! Also SPOILERS if you care.

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Male Gaze, Female Eye: Comic Girls, Slow Start, Sakura Trick and lewdness

One of the most prolific genres when it comes to late-night anime is the realm of cute girls doing cute things. I’ve talked about this style of show in the past, but there’s something about it that I think is interesting, namely, lewdness. Eroticism, fanservice, ecchi content, call it what you will, the undercurrent of sexuality is very present in many shows that are conceptually and practically innocent. This juxtaposition of lewdness with a “pure”, safe environment makes some audience members uncomfortable while others enjoy it. This can often vary on the degree and type of what’s presented, but I think it’s worth scoping out. This blogpost is unlikely to have a cohesive flow, but let’s begin.

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Violet Evergarden: History and Feminism

Violet Evergarden is a very cheesy, emotional anime that is currently airing on Japanese TV. It’s been simulcast worldwide and is also receiving positive attention from dedicated fansubbers. VEG’s charm point are its visuals and direction, but there’s something else to Kyoto Animation’s fantasy that’s worth talking about- the depiction of its female main character. Violet is an interesting girl; her problems and surprising gifts make her the focal point of drama big and small. She and the world she lives in are both shaped not just by the tone and style of the stories but by the history of female protagonists, real-world historical concepts related to women, and the nature of psychological trauma and unique mental behaviour. I think Violet Evergarden is a very compelling show and I’d like to take it apart and look at its contents and what they make me think about.

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The Heart of the Cards: Yu-Gi-Oh, mysticism and the power of games

I love trading cards and card games. I like the rules, the deckbuilding, the funky little artstyles and lore, the collecting, the feel of it all. But when it comes to card-game anime things are a little more complex. The logic in the shows, while also applicable to a lot of shonen tropey stuff, has a unique context all its own. I think people complain a lot about Yugioh and its ilk because of the absurdity of its setting and internal order, but I wonder if there’s more to it than that? So I’m going to ramble a bit about Yugioh, these types of shows, and also about card games, their history, and also….mysticism and the occult! Woooo. This one’s going to be pretty informal, you’ve been warned.

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