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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 Case Files of Jeweler Richard is a Great Ad for its Source Material

Is it a compliment or an insult to walk away from an anime thinking, “well, I’m definitely interested in the source material now?” This is the question left behind by The Case Files of Jeweler Richard, a quiet procedural drama that came out this winter. Based on a series of…

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The Case Files of Jeweler Richard

Queer Idol Rom-Com Oshibudo is a Messy Love Letter to Fandom

The Japanese idol industry is a fraught thing: on the one hand, it’s given a lot of young performers a chance at fame, provided great music across a wealth of subgenres, and brought fans together in love for their faves; on the other, it’s an infamously mechanized machine that, like…

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Oshibudo

10 Anime to Chill Out with During Quarantine

While we’re currently smack-dab in the start of a new (and very promising) season of anime, sometimes committing to a new show when you don’t know how it will turn out can be a stressful thing. Fortunately, there are plenty of excellent series from past seasons piling up on various…

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Laid-Back Camp

LISTS

Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! is Already the Anime of the Year

Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! has been the talk of anime Twitter for the past few months. Headed by renowned director/producer team Masaaki Yuasa and Eunyoung Choi (DEVILMAN crybaby; Night is Short, Walk on Girl), the 12-episode love letter to animation has provided endless GIFs, reaction images, and a meme…

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Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!

‘Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun’ is a Terrible Title For a Gorgeous Ghost Story

Anime and manga fans know better than to judge a series by its title, whether it’s one of those overly-literal mouthfuls like the fake-dating manga I Married My Best Friend Just to Shut My Parents Up or the “I swear it’s not what it sounds like” type, like a series…

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Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun

BOFURI is About the Joy of Playing Games the Wrong Way

Iyashikei (soothing/healing) shows have become a staple of anime over the past decade. Whether you’re looking for quiet, gentle comedies about camping, cooking, or raising a pet, the genre’s appeal has only shone brighter as daily life becomes more stressful. This season’s I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, So I…

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BOFURI

Why Can’t We Have a Good Vampire Chronicles Adaptation?

Outside of Dracula, no other book has shaped our cultural image of vampires as much as Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. It explicitly shifted the genre’s focus from a monstrous Otherized invader to the existential dread of immortality, paving the way for other sympathetic, sexy vampires as it went. The…

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Interview With The Vampire

FEATURES

20 Years Later, eXistenZ is Still the Best Video Game Movie Ever Made

In March 1999, The Matrix was released to critical acclaim and commercial success. A month later, David Cronenberg released eXistenZ. The film begins similarly to the Wachowskis’ thriller, with a VR developer going on the run after an assassination attempt during the focus testing of her latest game. Because it also touched on…

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FEATURES

The Woman Called Fujiko Mine is the Best Anime of the Decade

Trying to crown a “best” anime series of the past decade is no easy task. Do you prioritize a series that’s a superbly written multigenerational drama that tragically only reached a small audience, like Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju? One that birthed an entirely new subgenre and spawned dozens of imitators…

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FEATURES

Outburst Dreamer Boys Remembers Your Cringy Teenage Years

In a season full of comedies that started strong only to flag at the halfway point, one series managed to stay enjoyable from beginning to end: Outburst Dreamer Boys, about a girl who gets roped into helping the eccentric “hero club” despite her best efforts to have a chill, unremarkable…

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Outburst Dreamer Boys

Tennis Anime ‘Stars Align’ is Brilliant, Inclusive, and Tragically Unfinished

Stars Align is the indie darling of the most recent anime season: a slice-of-life sports drama about a middle school tennis club that quickly gained attention for focusing on issues rarely discussed in such a grounded setting — particularly its inclusion of two sensitively written trans characters (one nonbinary, one…

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In Way of the Househusband, a Former Yakuza Goes Domestic

An intense-looking man with slicked back hair, sunglasses, and a facial scar walks down the street. His expression screams of somebody who’s hidden more than a few bodies in his day. And he is on a mission: to get the best deals from the local supermarket sale and get home…

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Stardew Valley Meets Good Omens in a New Mod

Mods for famed farming sim Stardew Valley aren’t new — fans have added everything from lightsabers to Pokemon to the game. But a recent project by modder Thunderhead Fred goes a step beyond adding items or changing sprites: it adds a whole character with hundreds of lines of unique dialogue. And…

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The Best Version of Death Note is a Musical

Death Note might be the most 2000s thing ever made. The story, about a teen genius who finds a notebook that will let him kill people from afar and promptly develops a god complex, was an enormous hit in Japan and the United States and the original manga became an…

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Death Note: The Musical

FEATURES

Paradise Hills is The Stepford Wives Meets Jupiter Ascending

All horror is, to some degree, social commentary. The trends of the genre give us a peek into what creators and their presumed audiences are preoccupied with, be it the paranoia thrillers of the Watergate era or the torture porn boom that rose during the Abu Ghraib atrocities. But conscious…

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Paradise Hills

‘PROMARE,’ the Gay Firefighter Movie You Heard About, Really is That Good

Apparently there’s nothing an audience loves more than a sexy firefighter. And Studio TRIGGER, best known for lovable hot mess Kill la Kill, recently answered that yearning with PROMARE, which has exploded past all expectations to become the highest-grossing anime film of 2019. It’s also easily TRIGGER’s most accessible work…

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GRANBELM Recaptures What Made Madoka Magica So Special

Puella Magi Madoka Magica hit the world of anime like a meteor. While magical girl series had never shied away from dark storylines, as Princess Tutu and Sailor Moon S illustrate, the most popular series by 2013 were mostly targeted toward young girls and hardcore franchise fans. Madoka reframed its narrative…

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Farewell to The Adventure Zone: Amnesty, a Worthy Follow-up to “Balance”

Tabletop RPG podcast The Adventure Zone recently bid farewell to its second longform arc, a monster-hunting urban fantasy set in West Virginia known as “Amnesty.” Run by the McElroy brothers, who basically head up a podcasting dynasty at this point, TAZ ensnared many a heart with its first arc, “Balance”…

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What Sony’s Relaunch of Funimation Streaming Means for Anime Fans

Last week, Sony announced its formation of a new joint venture combining several of its anime streaming businesses including Funimation, Wakamin, and Madman Anime Group under the Funimation name. What that means for the moment is that Funimation’s biggest license of the Fall anime season, Fate/Grand Order Absolute Demonic Front:…

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Why You Should Binge Animated Underdog OK K.O.

Animation fans across the internet bid a sad goodbye to OK K.O: Let’s Be Heroes! earlier this month, the plucky Cartoon Network show created by Steven Universe alum Ian Jones-Quartey. Cancelled after three seasons and a comparatively short 111 episode run, the series creators did everything they could to pack their…

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FEATURES