Living in the database: the appeal of the unreal

Ever since the Wachowskis repackaged the themes and imagery of Masamune Shirow’s cyberpunk staple Ghost in the Shell for western audiences in 1999, the notion of living in a virtual world has become something of a fascination among creatives, consumers and conspiracy theorists. The most frightening aspect of The Matrix was in how perfectly the illusion recreated our own existence so that no one thought … Continue reading Living in the database: the appeal of the unreal

The cute corruption of the anime zombie

Zombies provide an outlet for that most mortal of fears and fascinations; death, and what comes after. It’s a universal thread that’s tugged by all cultures, linking all human thought. This gives the walking dead a power that transcend interpretive borders; for instance, between anime and the western viewer. Subtleties of language and cultural significance are bound to be lost in translation, but that gulf … Continue reading The cute corruption of the anime zombie

papi lays an egg monster musume

Making sense of my pregnancy through anime

It’s not just strangers, family or friends who see me differently now; every aspect of my life and view of myself has been altered by the fact that I’m a mother. During pregnancy, I’d wonder about the magnificent and cruel world around me, and how I’d teach my daughter its better lessons as a guard against the negative. I’d rehearse whole conversations with my daughter … Continue reading Making sense of my pregnancy through anime

Chobits

The comfort and companionship of AI in anime

In time, artificial intelligence could make our art, provide our services, and learn our means of thought. It will alter the nature of creativity, relationships and life itself. All while it slowly becomes invisible to the naked eye, walking among us as any other human would, their features and even micro-movements indivisible from our own. But even as the fear encroaches on our fiction and … Continue reading The comfort and companionship of AI in anime

Laid-Back Camp - Nadeshiko

Smartphones and social media positivity in anime

It’s easy to learn to depend on objects at the cost of ourselves, leaning on the things we own to weather the times alone. Smartphones are an apt metaphor for each of these problems. Social media and so many options for instant messaging encourage over-exposure to people, dependency, anxiety over the worth of one’s own voice. It can be hard to find a way back … Continue reading Smartphones and social media positivity in anime

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The everyday heroism of anime’s non-binary characters

In a medium as varied in voice as any other, the fight is on for anime creators to defend the right for gender non-binary (NB) people to be beautiful, proud and not just the shattered screw-ups on the sidelines. Though they may seem the buried few, there are more titles that make NB folks heroes than a quick skim of the surface would suggest. They … Continue reading The everyday heroism of anime’s non-binary characters

Dear Hollywood, leave Cowboy Bebop alone

Dear Hollywood, leave Cowboy Bebop alone

“And the work which has become a genre unto itself shall be called: Cowboy Bebop” This phrase is proudly emblazoned across the seminal series like manifesto, a mission statement that this stylish mix of music, form and story is entirely its own beast. Sure enough, while the series – and creator Shinichiro Watanabe – is indebted to western media, its aesthetic is unique, nurtured during … Continue reading Dear Hollywood, leave Cowboy Bebop alone

The high life: drug use in anime

Like all art, anime is a reflection of the society that bore it, a means to echo its beliefs, traditions and behaviours. But in isolation, art alone is not enough to decode an entire coutry and can instead present a skewed image of a nation. There seems to be this shared assumption that Japan doesn’t have a drug problem, that its cultural conformity is a … Continue reading The high life: drug use in anime

ancient-magus-bride-titania

Guardian, neighbour, trickster: aspects of the anime faery

Wee folk, fair folk, good folk. Faeries travel under many guises and by many names, the mischievous gatekeepers of nature’s small and secret realms of nature. But in all their forms they are irresistible, and humanity’s unified wondering about these oft-invisible beings is no less present in anime. In the latest instalment of our series on supernatural creatures (after witches and vampires), let’s follow the … Continue reading Guardian, neighbour, trickster: aspects of the anime faery

Mourning my mother through anime

There is no fact of life harder to face, or conceptualise, than its ending. Since I lost my mother last year, I’ve been struggling for ways to guard against the fact she will never be a phone call away, that strong, vital voice of reassurance. There’s the regret that I should have treasured her more when she was here, made more time to be with … Continue reading Mourning my mother through anime

Get a clue: the great anime detective

Television detectives can be loosely categorised into two camps. The first is the gruff, “too old for this shit” type drowning their sorrows in stiff liquor. The other is the kooky wunderkind, sporting an intimidating intellect and usually sitting somewhere on the spectrum. While the former often prioritises immediate action and brute force, the latter draws on deduction and a meticulous attention to the minutiae … Continue reading Get a clue: the great anime detective