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Vrai Kaiser

Vrai Kaiser is a tired trans media critic who likes vampires, queer shit, and bad movies. Follow their freelance work on Twitter @writervrai or their study of trash media @trashpod.


The Best Anime You’ve Missed Since 2020

The anime industry has been going through hard times since COVID, just like everyone else. We’ll likely be seeing the effects of 2020’s lockdown for years to come, as shows that would’ve just entered production that year begin to find their way to air and studios struggle with the additional…

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TV/FILM

LGBTQ Anime to Watch for (Almost) Every Mood

I personally believe that queer anime is something to be enjoyed 365 days a year, but Pride is a great opportunity to let people know about titles that might’ve escaped their notice. While LGBTQ+ media still makes up a tiny sliver of the 30-plus anime that are made every season (especially…

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Flip Flappers

FEATURES

‘Revue Starlight the Movie’ is the Best-Looking Film This Year

Back in 2018, seasonal anime fans were treated to the world of Revue Starlight, a 12-episode marvel that combined the world of theater with life-or-death allegorical sword fights, musical numbers, and an ominous giraffe. Revue Starlight is a full-fledged franchise in Japan, with re-edited film recaps of the show, multiple…

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Revue Starlight the Movie

REVIEWS

‘Midnight Mass’ Review: Spoiler, The Church is the Real Monster

To imagine the mood of Midnight Mass, the latest work from Netflix darling Mike Flanagan, you need only conjure the words of John Mulaney: “Now, I was raised Catholic. I don’t know if you can tell that from the everything about me.” While Flanagan has become something of a household…

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Midnight Mass

REVIEWS

ODDTAXI is a Perfect Ensemble Noir About Funny Animals

It’s a tough world out there for furry anime. Sure, there will never be a shortage of shows where basically human teens sport tails and ears to frequently horny ends, but instances of fully anthropomorphized animals are generally expected to be intrinsically Saying Something with their use of animal-people. Given…

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ODDTAXI

What the Hell Happened to Wonder Egg Priority?

This piece discusses suicide, transphobia, sexual assault, pedophilia, and rape apologism at length. Wonder Egg Priority premiered to dazzling praise back in January, with almost film-quality animation and a creative team of talented newcomers either beginning their careers or stepping into new roles. Its story, about four adolescent girls each…

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Wonder Egg

FEATURES

Nagata Kabi’s Latest Book Tackles the Cost of Writing Nonfiction

A Nagata Kabi book is not unlike a Bo Burnham special: a compellingly personal bit of art that leaves you slightly terrified that you should be calling into a crisis hotline on the artist’s behalf. Nagata shot to acclaim in 2016 when her autobiographical webcomic was published in a printed…

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My Alcoholic Escape From Reality

Enjoy the Hunky Queer Magical Boys of Fairy Ranmaru

My favorite anime are the ones where I sit down every week and gleefully scream “what the fuck is this?!” at the top of my lungs. The sheer number of shows being made every season means that there are a lot of genre-followers and comfort food offerings, not because of…

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Fairy Ranmaru

Boys Run the Riot is a Manga by and for Trans Men

To this day, one of the best-known manga about growing up trans is Takako Shimura’s Wandering Son, a ground-breaking title that ran from 2002 to 2015 which followed a group of kids from grade school through graduation. Though parts of it still ring powerfully true, particularly for trans women, it’s…

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Boys Run the Riot

Otherside Picnic is a Passable Anime Based on a Great Horror Novel

Few winter anime announcements made me more excited than Otherside Picnic, an action horror series about two college-aged women — Sorawo, a loner who studies urban legends; and Toriko, a survivalist looking for her missing mentor — who hunt cryptids in a strange cosmic horror otherworld and eventually fall in love.…

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Otherside Picnic

Cells at Work: CODE BLACK is a Cell’s-Eye View of Labor Abuse

I didn’t have high expectations for Cells at Work: CODE BLACK. The original Cells is an earnest edutainment series about the anthropomorphized workings of the human body, where the invasive germs look like Power Rangers monsters and the characters deal with ailments like “allergies” or “sunstroke.” CODE BLACK, meanwhile, was…

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Cells at Work Code Black

Twittering Birds Never Fly is Engrossing Gay Yakuza Melodrama

Among its many horrors, there was one small silver lining to this year: the transition to digital screenings of new films meant that film fans outside of a small cluster of major cities finally had the opportunity to watch limited run and festival films. This was true in the world…

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Twittering Birds Never Fly

9 Anime that Need Blu-Rays Now that Sony Owns Crunchyroll

Sony recently announced its acquisition of streaming webservice Crunchyroll, in a move that brings the majority of western anime streaming under one roof. While there are still a handful of outliers, including Netflix, classic title refuge RetroCrush, and niche holdout Sentai Filmworks, Sony has essentially secured a monopoly on the…

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Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju

LISTS

Sleepy Princess in Demon Castle is the Perfect Quarantine Comedy

Ah, 2020. The year of quarantine. A dumpster fire previously unmatched, which feels like I’m challenging 2021. While being stuck indoors is a comparative privilege, given how many workers still had to go to customer-facing jobs during an ongoing plague, that doesn’t make it any less of an agonizing experience.…

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Sleepy Princess in Demon Castle

Darkest Dungeon is a Landlord Simulator

Something about the apocalyptic state of the world has recently sent me once more into the arms of cosmic horror. It can be appealing to watch society fall apart in a way the viewer can plan for, with trigger warnings that can be verified and an ending that can be…

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Darkest Dungeon

FEATURES

‘Scream, Queen!’ Revisits the Gayest Nightmare on Elm Street Movie

Last year, streaming service Shudder gained critical and audience acclaim for its in-house documentary Horror Noire, which centered Black voices both in front of and behind the camera. Earlier this year it debuted Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street, a deep dive into slasher sequel Nightmare on Elm Street…

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Scream, Queen!

In Ascendance of a Bookworm, “Women’s Work” Changes the World

The isekai (“another world”) genre is a staple of anime. The definition is broad, fluid, and constantly being argued over, but in general it involves a protagonist being transported to another world and trapped there, whereupon adventure ensues. The genre gained its official name with the boom/revival arguably kicked off…

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Ascendance of a Bookworm

FEATURES

Gal & Dino is a Media Mash-up for Your Inner Stoner

Pop Team Epic took Twitter by storm a few years ago, transforming the beloved four-panel comics into an aggressive and audacious multimedia experience that used rapid-fire punchlines and multimedia segments over a mere eleven minutes to create a surreal experience. Then, for the truly patient, it repeated those jokes for…

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Gal & Dino

My Next Life as a Villainess is as Perfect as its Bisexual Disaster Heroine

While Ascendance of a Bookworm has taken on the role of an isekai series with a well-realized fantasy world starring a heroine slowly working to bringing down the class system, My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! has a much more straightforward goal: to be a…

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My Next Life as a Villainess

Magia Record is the Aliens to Puella Magi Madoka Magica’s Alien

Mobile game adaptations are a staple of modern anime, with one or two popping up almost every single season. While not inherently bad, they tend to share a series of predictable shortcomings: some, like trouble picking a personality for a blank-slate protagonist or weeding out early gamified repetition, are hurdles…

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Magia Record