Sunday, June 26, 2022

Not only what we have lost, but what we still have left to lose after the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

Dear family and friends,

They are coming for me. On Friday, 6/24/22, in a concurrence, the supreme court said they want to take away the right of gay marriage and they want to recriminalize gay sex. And after that they will take away discrimination protections for me in voting, health care, and employment. 

If you continue to vote republican behind the defense of being a “fiscal conservative” then you are directly injuring me. Every time you vote republican you are personally striking at me, personally taking my rights away, personally advocating for hate and discrimination. 

You cannot turn a blind eye anymore. If you think I am hysterical, remember that as recently as in my parent’s generation these things were illegal, I was illegal. Please, it is not too late. If you love me. If you love anyone at all. Please.

Your daughter, your niece, your sister, your cousin, your mother, your friend,
Yuristargirl

🚺

Please legitimately purchase or borrow manga and anime. Never read scanlations or watch fansubs. Those rob the creators of the income they need to survive and reduce the chance of manga and anime being legitimately released in English.

All comments are moderated by a real person who only checks them once a day. Therefore, comments may take a while before they show up. Thanks for understanding. It's how we keep this a community of lovingkindness.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Metal Lords (movie review)

Two teen boys and one teen girl in a classroom, one teen boy has death metal stage makeup on, the teen girl has a cello
    Random movie review: "Metal Lords." I was bored, it was on Netflix, so I watched it. And, it was actually pretty decent. How to describe it? It's a light teen comedy/drama movie about metal and friendship and growing up. It definitely doesn't have the realism of something like "We Are the Best" and it doesn't have the quite the emotional depth of "Edge of Seventeen" (2016 - god I love that movie). But it's also not as funny nor as sweet as "School of Rock." But despite some uneven parts and some unnecessary gross-out moments, there were enough genuine laughs and bright spots to be worth watching for anyone who likes light teen movies and likes music. 
    The basic premise is that there are two high-school best friend outcasts, one who is domineering (but deeply hurting inside) who loves metal and plays the guitar, and the more emotionally centered kid he had previously befriended (and who is the fulcrum, so to speak, for the movie) who plays drums. They form a "band" if you could call it that. The guitarist is determined to enter the school's battle of the bands to show everyone that they are "somebodies" and become stars like a prior metal band that came out of the school.
    But can they do it as a duo? And therein lies some of the best moments of the movie. Our drummer watches as a girl in the marching band goes ape-shit crazy on a teacher and then stumbles on her later playing cello - and she's good. Couldn't she join the band? Not if the guitarist has anything to say about it. 
    So we get a burgeoning teen love (drummer and cellist) that conflicts with an old friendship (guitarist and drummer) and that conflict propels some emotional growth in all three. But oh, the conflict between the guitarist and cellist reaches a peak in one of the best scenes in the movie (I won't spoil it).
    There's also healing family wounds, coming out of your shell, and romance. Unfortunately, for all the good, there are a few uneven moments, and the film as a whole has a less-than-believable overall tone. But that's not to say it doesn't work, it's just light, fun, fare - and that's okay.
    All three leads are wonderfully cast. There are some funny cameos from actual metal musicians and there's a great twist with a psychiatrist. There are also some interesting moments with the "rival" band - showing how as douchey as their music is, they're actually decent people. It's nice to see a teen movie where there is a mix of personalities, not just the good ones and the bad ones. But a whole bunch of average people being somewhat decent.
    Interestingly, there is also the regular appearance of a side character with Down Syndrome, played by an actor who has Down Syndrome. I'm a bit torn about this character, and I would be interested in hearing from some folks with even greater knowledge of disabilities than I do as to whether it is positive representation. My hunch is that, it is. The scenes with that character and the guitarist have a gentleness and humanity that I liked, it didn't feel forced to me, it didn't feel exploitative, and I think visibility is great. But, I also might be missing things that might have bothered others about that role (or maybe not, maybe it was good representation?). At the very least they tried and that's something too.
    Other kvetches: it didn't pass the Bechdel Test. There was only one female lead. She did not interact with any other female. There was another girl thrown in just to tempt the drummer. There was no interaction between any female characters at all. 
    And on another note, there was one gay joke. It started really badly with the guitarist calling having the girl in the band "gay." But then the other two look around at posters in the guitarist's room and the sight gag of all those singers with makeup, tight pants, and crotches packed with socks poked fun at the machismo of metal mixed with the innate queerness of many metal bands - and their infatuation with dicks. It was a funny turnaround to be sure. But that's still an uneven commentary on using "gay" as a pejorative. While they did manage to turn it back on the person who said it, it didn't quite resolve in a way that makes being gay okay. All it basically said is that all metal is gay, not that it's not okay to call things "gay" to demean them. On the whole, I wish they didn't make that joke, but there's been worse. 
    So on the whole, the movie was nice, it was sweet, but it isn't one I'm likely to watch again. There really were some laugh-out-loud moments, and the cellist's explosive temper is so well done by the actress. The overall tone was a bit mixed - veering more towards light teen comedy than anything really meaningful - but uneven at times too. And yet, there was some growth in several characters. So as imperfect as it is, if you're bored, like music, and like teen comedies, it might be worth watching.
    
🚺

Please legitimately purchase or borrow manga and anime. Never read scanlations or watch fansubs. Those rob the creators of the income they need to survive and reduce the chance of manga and anime being legitimately released in English.

All comments are moderated by a real person who only checks them once a day. Therefore, comments may take a while before they show up. Thanks for understanding. It's how we keep this a community of lovingkindness.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Adachi and Shimamura volume 3 (Manga review)

Manga cover. Two Japanese teens sit on a train, one holds the others hand, the girl whose hand is being held is shyly freaking out. They have scarves on due to the cold.
    
I think I am going to stop reading the "Adachi and Shimamura" manga. So this review of volume 3 will probably be my last stop with this series (however, that does mean that I can pick up a new series to start - gotta respect the 'ole budget after all).
    In Volume 3, Adachi and Shimamura exchange chocolates for valentines day. I mean seriously, that's about the only thing that happens all volume, and although it introduces a new character (an old friend of Shimamura's who is likely to cause trouble/confusion somewhere down the line) there's basically nothing go on.
    And it's not the good kind of nothing either. I'm fine with those slice-of-life, no real plot sort of stories if they are well done. However, this series is becoming the worst form of yuri (well, 2nd worst after the male-oriented, hentai-light type). It's the type of yuri that is neither a deep and meaningful exploration of the complexities and depths of female friendship, nor an actual romantic coupling (or even better, an actual lesbian couple - the distinction I'm making is better left for a later date). 
    No, this is the super bland, queer baiting, non-committal, meaningless dreck kind of yuri. The kind of yuri where the actions, feelings, inner-monologues, and everything else feels fake, contrived, and confusingly vacant all at the same time. Nothing they say in their inner monologues makes sense. Nothing they do in their interactions makes sense. The actual writing has horrid pacing, abrupt jumps and transitions, and is just generally really poor. 
    I think the closest current series that I can think of to compare it with is something like "A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow" and yet I think (9 volumes in to that series so far) that that series might actually turn romantic (god I hope so). But that series too suffers from some of these same non-committal, confusingly non-realistic depictions of teenage girls' minds and hearts. However, at least "A Tropical Fish" is slightly more interesting, with characters that have some actual depth to them. "Adachi and Shimamura" just doesn't know how to create that. It's so poorly written. And it's queer-baiting with no real sense that there will be a legit romantic and/or LGBTQ+ payoff that makes it's frustratingly vapid storytelling worth it.
    I thankfully am at the point in life now, and with the increasing availability of LGBTQ+ media to consume (I doubted you "Heartstopper" - but 5 episodes in you are very very adorable), that I don't need to waste my time or my money on such a less-than-mediocre "yuri" (maybe it's not even queer-baiting, maybe it's just yuri-baiting) manga like Adachi and Shimamura. Volume 3 is likely to be my last for this series. 

🚺

Please legitimately purchase or borrow manga and anime. Never read scanlations or watch fansubs. Those rob the creators of the income they need to survive and reduce the chance of manga and anime being legitimately released in English.

All comments are moderated by a real person who only checks them once a day. Therefore, comments may take a while before they show up. Thanks for understanding. It's how we keep this a community of lovingkindness.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Daytime Shooting Star volume 10 (manga review)

A young teacher and his female student stand side by side, she pulls down the corner of her eye and sticks her tongue out.
    Been a slow month for new releases in the series I'm currently reading, and I'm on a bit of a tight budget at the moment so I haven't been starting any new series. Soooo, that means it's time to review another volume of "Daytime Shooting Star" which I've been slowly catching up on.
    This will be a short review, so be prepared for SPOILERS throughout (as there ain't much else to talk about): In volume 10, Suzume very cutely asks Mamura to be her boyfriend for real. He is cutely blushing throughout the entire chapter. And THEN...and then, just when you thought we were past this...G**D*** Shishio-sensei decides to act like a spoiled brat/total creep and gets Suzume alone in a classroom, and hugs her tightly, and when she asks him to let go, he says "no." 
    Let's remind everyone (for the millionth time) - Shishio is her adult teacher. She is about 16 years old. THIS IS NEVER OKAY. But, on the plus side for this series, she does reject him and commits herself to Mamura. So hopefully my internet friends who told me the series resolves in a healthy way are right and we're on a good path with Mamura. 
    But still, why can't we have a series with someone as cutely oblivious as Suzume and someone as cutely sensitive/devoted as Mamura WITHOUT the whole teacher and student thing? Is it too hard to ask for good shoujo with same-age protagonists ("Ao Haru Ride" FTW)? Also, is it too hard to get a good shoujo romance with same-age protagonists, that is actually interesting? (I'm looking at you "Shortcake Cake" - you started so good and got so bland, dropping all your high-drama stakes along the way and making your female lead take the backseat and erasing her personality - for shame!)
    So with volume 10 of "Daytime Shooting Star," we formally get our couple. Suzume continues to be a nicely uniquely characterized shoujo heroine, Mamura is likable with some of the characteristics of a modern shoujo male lead (kind, sensitive, devoted - not cold and cool like the late 90s, early 2000s shoujo males - ughhhh "Peach Girl" why did you have to give those two assholes your attention?). We're putting to rest (I think, finally) the teacher/student relationship in this series (and not a moment too soon), and so here's hoping that the series gives us some fun volumes of Suzume and Mamura getting to know each other and deepening their relationship as it finishes up.

🚺

Please legitimately purchase or borrow manga and anime. Never read scanlations or watch fansubs. Those rob the creators of the income they need to survive and reduce the chance of manga and anime being legitimately released in English.

All comments are moderated by a real person who only checks them once a day. Therefore, comments may take a while before they show up. Thanks for understanding. It's how we keep this a community of lovingkindness.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Star Trek The Motion Picture 4k UHD Director's cut Remastered(Movie Review)

    Today was one of only two days to see Star Trek The Motion Picture in 4k, completely remastered, UHD, director's cut IN THEATERS! So naturally I was there! I won't bore you with too many details, but basically, they went back to the original footage in three different formats that it was shot in, cleaned it up, used the previous director's cut edit, and truly color-graded it for the first time. I have always liked this movie, far more than most people, but I also was well aware of its weaknesses. So I was definitely looking forward to seeing what they did with it. Let's do a quick good vs. bad to get things rolling:

The faces of the characters from Star Trek look out over the movies title with a rainbow color filter over them.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Kageki Shojo!! volume 5 (manga review)

 
Two teen girls in school uniforms promenading. One has a military coat overtop flaring out behind her like a cape.
   
Meh. That's what I think of Kageki Shojo volume 5 (and pretty much all the volumes other than the prequel/introductory volume "The Curtain Rises). I'm so sorry to keep subjecting you all to my reviews of manga that I just don't feel very drawn to (is that a pun?!). In general, I just find so much shoujo and yuri to be middling. And don't get me started on how little true josei is published in the US. My big question to all of you: is there no fantastically well written yuri, shoujo, and josei out there any more? Has the industry just become dominated by trite, superficial storytelling and bland art that can't decide if it's moe or realistic? Or is what gets translated to the US market so limited, that they pick lowest common denominator titles to publish even though there are a lot of higher quality ones in Japan going untranslated? (And yes, I feel meh about anime the last few seasons as well).
    But, let's talk Kageki Shojo Volume 5 while we're here. In this volume, the girls begin the process of rehearsing for, and then auditioning for, their brief Romeo and Juliet scene that they will perform with the main troupes at the school's cultural festival. Mostly, this volume focuses on Sarasa trying to figure out which character she will portray and how to develop her own style for that character. In this way, it reflects back on the earlier volumes where she was both magnificent at acting, but her acting was also a direct copy of another famous performer's style. Fascinating, is when Ai gives her some advice and then remembers where she learned that from (her famous actress mother...).

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Our Teachers are Dating Volume 4 (manga review)

Two adult women teachers holding hands, one has her other arm around the other, in front of a school on a clear day with flower petals floating in the air around them
    Somewhat unexpectedly, Our Teachers are Dating Volume 4 (Seven Seas) came shrink wrapped. I just assumed it was some weird Amazon warehouse thing. Well, for what is mostly a sweet, simple comedy/romance, it turns out the final chapter of this final volume was about as steamy as it gets. I was surprised there wasn't an explicit content warning on it actually, but the shrink wrap now makes sense. More on that to come.
    Our Teachers are Dating is a very light rom-com about two women teachers at a school who fall in love, date, and in this final volume, get married. It's a simple story. There is really no drama, no character growth, it's just meant as a feel-good story, I guess. I would honestly say that it's below average. Nice but nothing special.
    This final volume had the two women telling their families that they were planning on marrying which at least provided some interesting dynamics, especially when one family does not take it well to start. But honestly, there isn't much to say about this volume or series. Do you want to read a simple rom-com about two lesbians teachers falling in love? Do you not want to have to think while you read it because there is no depth? Then you're in luck.