Individuals celebrate LGBTQ+ visibility everyday using the seemingly endless mediums available to us, including the narratives found in pop culture. Using creative mediums, we tell the stories of LGBTQ+ characters, and sometimes ourselves, in order to keep that visibility alive all year long and often tell the stories of our own vulnerabilities. One such pop culture work worth celebrating this month is Jen Wang’s The Prince and the Dressmaker.
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.
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...
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...
Family Dynamics in Gravity Falls [OWLS August Blog Tour: Bloodlines]
Everyone has their own experience with and definition of family –some positive, some negative. In the media, however, we often only see certain portrayals such as a positive family with one mom, one dad, and children, or a broken family who all work together to change their ways in the end. In his hit animated series Gravity Falls, Alex Hirsch tackles the complicated issues that shape families and addresses the fact that not all families are ideal, but that doesn't make them bad...
Mirrors in Wandering Son: Navigating Visual Gender Norms [OWLS July Blog Tour: Mirrors]
Being transgender is tough. Every stage of the long, multi-step transition process contains sharp twists and turns, as well as hoop after hoop that people must jump through just to be themselves. On top of it all, trans individuals have to overcome discrimination and social rejection, which can put them in very real danger of … Continue reading Mirrors in Wandering Son: Navigating Visual Gender Norms [OWLS July Blog Tour: Mirrors]
Theme Delivery Service
Themes give creative works their personality. You can’t play a video game, read a comic, or watch a show without running into some sort of theme. When romance blossoms in a particular shoujo anime, or a character proves that staying true to yourself works better than faking your personality, you’ve got theme. For a deeper understanding of this literary device, let’s take a look at the 1989 film Kiki’s Delivery Service...