Losing Control of Your Strengths [OWLS September Blog Tour: Self-Care]

Being highly skilled at something makes us feel good. It's a confident boost. It's a skill that we can consistently do and know that the outcome will be positive more often than not. Recognizing our strengths, and also recognizing the limits of our strengths, is an important part of self-care that sometimes gets left out, overpowered by the images of hot springs, amazing scented oils, and snuggly blankets to hide in that the term self-care often evokes. The anime This Boy is a Professional Wizard (Kono Danshi, Mahou ga Oshigoto Desu) does a beautiful job of addressing this element of self-care...

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Envisioning Worlds Without Hate [OWLS June Blog Tour: Pride]

Pop culture acts a platform for self-expression and provides a space for the LGBTQ+ community to find visibility. There are a number of pop culture works that include and revolve around LGBTQ+ characters. A number of these works focus on overcoming hate and discrimination, raising awareness for what individuals in the community experience in the … Continue reading Envisioning Worlds Without Hate [OWLS June Blog Tour: Pride]

Lost Groups and Shifting Allegiances in Gargantia [OWLS May Blog Tour: Movement]

This month, we're talking about "movement" in pop culture. Throughout this month, we are talking about the movements, organizations, and systems that individuals join that align with their personal values and beliefs. Often, individuals join these groups because they believe that they are doing good and are making positive changes in society. Often, these groups help to shape individual identities, with individuals either aligning with the values of the group, or rejecting them and rebelling against them. Join me in exploring this theme in the anime Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet.

Variations on Tropes and Themes: Competition in Anime [OWLS February Blog Tour: Competition]

I have an embarrassing problem: I can’t help but love tropes. Yes, I even enjoy many of the tired ones like high schoolers putting on a gender-swapped play or two or more characters swapping minds. It’s just such a delight to see the unique twists and theme combinations that authors and creators throw into less-than-unique content and see my favorite story types retold over and over again. Let’s explore the differences that theme combinations can make in repetitive story elements by looking at tropes centered around the theme of competition...

Magical Transformation and Character Development in Cardcaptor Sakura [OWLS January Blog Tour: Revival]

The most memorable, engaging stories are those where something changes between the beginning and the end. One type of change that occurs in most narratives (especially character-driven ones, but we're not talking about types of narrative today) is character development. For January's OWLS theme, we are exploring character growth and transformation in Cardcaptor Sakura...

Finding Shared Warmth and Joy in the Rink of Yuri on Ice [OWLS December Blog Tour: Warmth]

The festive season that starts at the end of November (at least, it does in the United States with the celebration of Thanksgiving) runs clear through to the first days of January. With so many holidays back-to-back, December is a time for sharing warmth and joy with family and friends. In the spirit of sharing joy, I wanted to pull out an anime that exemplifies this theme in multiple ways, both in-universe and in our own real world...

Holiday Special: Eight Nights of Deus ex Machina 2: Pokemon

Happy holidays, everyone, and welcome back to Eight Nights of Deus ex Machina, where we celebrate holiday miracles with pop culture and literary devices. It’s the second night of Chanukkah, and tonight we’re unpacking a childhood favorite— Pokemon: The First Movie...

Holiday Special: Eight Nights of Deus ex Machina

December is a festive time of year for many, with Kwanzaa, Chanukkah, Christmas, Yule, and New Years Eve as some of the holidays brightening homes around the globe. In honor of this festive time, and as a Chanukkah-themed holiday series, please enjoy eight nights of Deus ex Machina. First, we're taking a look at Clamp's Cardcaptor Sakura...

Pop Culture Based on Novels Part 1: The Heroic Legend of Arslan

November is National Novel Writing Month, a 30-day challenge that many aspiring writers partake in every year. The idea of the challenge is to pump out a novel by the end of the month, or to at least have a higher page count than your friends who gave up halfway through. In the spirit of cheering on the writers fighting to reach their daily word count goals, we're taking a look at pop culture narratives based on novels, starting with The Heroic Tale of Arslan...

Dramatical Murder and Rap Music: How Pop Culture Raises Awareness for Mental Health [OWLS September Blog Tour: Treasure]

What if I told you that the Dramatical Murder anime and music artist Logic have something in common? On the surface, the two seem entirely different, one being an animated narrative based on a visual novel and the other, a rap artist. Although dissimilar in many ways, these two pop culture artifacts help to bring awareness to mental health concerns such as depression and suicide...