Exploring Love Through Fan Culture [OWLS September Blog Tour: Lover]

This month, the OWLS are talking about our favorite couples in pop culture as we explore the theme "lover". If you've ever shipped characters in your favorite anime, book, video game, or other narrative work, then you've participated in what reception studies terms decoding and sense-making. When we take in a creative work, we have the opportunity to form our own version of its happenings. These fan-made versions give us a chance to explore meaning in our own lives. For this month's blog tour, I'll be taking a look at fan interpretation related to romance.

Symbolism Saturday: Hana’s Home

Welcome to Symbolism Saturday! For anyone new to Symbolism Saturday, this is a bi-monthly Saturday special that I originally started sharing on Instagram and Twitter. In these posts, I highlight an example of symbolism in pop culture in a bite-sized exploration. Today, we're taking a look at a symbol from the anime movie Wolf Children (おおかみこどもの雨と雪).

Adventures Through Mobile Connectivity [OWLS July Blog Tour: Technology]

Think about the last time you used technology. In fact, you're using technology right now to read this post! We use a lot of technology in our world. It's almost impossible not to. Our interwoven relationship with technology is largely due to how useful it is. We can use it for things like homework, research, habit tracking, or anxiety mitigation fairly easily. Although there is a notable technology gap due to factors like financial well-being, ability, geographic location, or age, technology is largely all around us. It does have some problematic elements, and has great potential for harm, but this technology also has great potential for good, both big and small. Today, I wanted to take a look at some of the everyday positive aspects of our technology showcased in the anime Laid-Back Camp (ゆるキャン△ Yurukyan). 

Symbolism Saturday: Mother’s Broom in Kiki’s Delivery Service

Welcome to Symbolism Saturday! For anyone new to Symbolism Saturday, this is a bi-monthly Saturday special that I originally started sharing on Instagram and Twitter. In these posts, I highlight an example of symbolism in pop culture in a bite-sized exploration. Today, we're taking a look at a symbol from the anime movie Kiki's Delivery Service. 

Sakae’s Human-Made Miracle in Summer Wars [OWLS December Blog Tour: Miracles]

Humans, it seems, love to tell stories about miraculous happenings. Some of these miracles come from benevolent otherworldly beings taking pity on humans during a crisis. Others, however, are the handiwork of ordinary humans like Summer Wars's Sakae Jinnouchi. Welcome to December's OWLS Blog Tour.

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...

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...