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...

Advertisements

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...

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]